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Decades of Darkness Complete

Decades of Darkness #1: Seeds of Division

POD: 6 January 1809: Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of the United States, suffers a severe heart attack and dies two days later; the first President of the United States to die in office. Pressure from the vigorous debates in Congress about the Embargo Act may have contributed; he had certainly been under considerable strain for the last few months. Congress had been considering the repeal of the Embargo Act, an Act which Jefferson himself had proposed but which had been increasingly unpopular.

This places the current Vice-President, George Clinton, in an unenviable position. James Madison is the President-elect, and Clinton has been re-elected as the Vice-President. So until the 4th of March, he has the dubious distinction of being Acting President, then returning to being Vice-President. Hardly a boost to a man’s ego.

In this time, Clinton does not really have the opportunity to enact many policies. One he does do, however, is lobby against the repeal of the Embargo Act, which he (along with President Madison) believes is the best way of putting pressure on Britain and France to stop impressments and other issues arising out of the Napoleonic Wars. Both Clinton and President-elect Madison view the proposed alternative Non-Intercourse Act as too weak. Clinton also feels that, given the temporary nature of his office, he should not sign any Act. Given that Clinton has made it clear that he will refuse to sign the repeal of the Embargo Act, Congress decides to delay discussions on it for a couple of months – they know he will be gone soon, so it’s no great stumbling block.

4 March 1809: James Madison inaugurated as the 4th President of the United States. Madison makes it clear quickly that he is also interested in preserving the Embargo Act. He doubts that the Non-Intercourse Act (the proposed replacement) will be enforceable, and believes that pressure still needs to be placed on Britain. He also likes the benefits to domestic manufacturing which Jefferson himself pointed out in his address to the nation last November. Madison is aware of the New Englanders complaints, but doubts their willingness to do anything more than complain.

April-October 1809: The Embargo Act remains in force, with the blessing of President Madison. Congress is distinctly divided, with New England representatives furious over its maintenance but the rest of the country favouring it. President Madison’s argument that an alternative Act will be unenforceable is enough to swing the balance.

Some areas of New England and upstate New York are declared to be regions in insurrection, as Lake Champlain was under Jefferson’s administration the year before, and the actions of the army and the militia in enforcing the embargo further radicalise sentiment in New England. The economy of New England is nearing collapse, but President Madison does not, as yet, believe that the situation is as serious as is being made out.

October 1809: The Massachusetts Legislature calls for a constitutional convention to meet in Hartford. The primary point of dispute is the embargo, but there are also broader questions being raised issues being raised about the dominance of the Southern states and their over-representation under the U.S. Constitution. Moderate Federalists want to reform the Constitution, but the growing numbers of extremists (led by influential voices such as John Lowell and Timothy Pickering) advocate secession as the only way to permanently solve the problem.

November 1809: The legislatures of Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island choose representatives; New Hampshire and Vermont Federalists select their candidates by popular vote. New York is also invited to attend, but Governor Tompkins refuses to send representatives, despite much argument within the legislature and the state. Secessionist sentiment is strong amongst the delegates, but it is not yet a majority.

December 1809-January 1810: The debates in the convention include many arguments in favour of secession, with the extremist wing of the Federalist Party, led by Timothy Pickering, demanding that New England leave the Union. However, the convention is presided over by the head of the Massachusetts delegation, George Cabot, who is a moderate Federalist and prefers to negotiate within the Union. After much wrangling, the convention is resolved through compromise, with a detailed list of proposals that, if accepted, would severely limit the powers of the president, and weaken the influence of the slave states. The final document does not include an overt recommendation for secession, but makes it clear that this is a distinct possibility.

5 January 1810: The Hartford Convention publishes its famous report, which future historians will call the first step in the formation of the grand and glorious Republic of New England.

Report and Resolutions of the Hartford Convention

January 5, 1810

That it be and hereby is recommended to the legislatures of the several states represented in this Convention, to adopt all such measures as may be necessary effectually to protect the citizens of said states from the operation and effects of all acts which have been or may be passed by the Congress of the United States, which shall contain provisions not authorised by the constitution of the United States.

Resolved, That it be, and hereby is, recommended to the said Legislatures, to pass laws (where it has not already been done) authorizing the governors or commanders-in-chief of their militia to make detachments from the same, or to form voluntary corps, as shall be most convenient and conformable to their constitutions, and to cause the same to be well armed, equipped and disciplined, and held in readiness for service; and upon the request of the governor of either of the other states to employ the whole of such detachment or corps, as well as the regular forces of the state, or such part thereof as may be required and can be spared consistently with the safety of the state, in assisting the state, making such request to repel any invasion thereof which shall be made or attempted by the public enemy [1].

Resolved, That it be, and hereby is, recommended to the aforesaid Legislatures that if the following amendments are not accepted by the government of the United States, that the individual and sovereign States shall pass laws overruling any illegal federal laws concerning embargos or other measures to interdict the commercial intercourse of any of the States, and further to the aforesaid Legislatures that they pass laws authorizing the governors of the said States to grant clemency to any persons who have been wrongfully detained or withheld under any illegal federal laws.

Resolved, That the following amendments of the constitution of the United States be recommended to the states represented as aforesaid, to be proposed by them for adoption by the state legislatures, and in such cases as may be deemed expedient by a convention chosen by the people of each state.

First. Congress shall not have power to lay any embargo on the ships or vessels of the citizens of the United States, in the ports or harbours thereof, for more than sixty days.

Second. Congress shall not have power, without the concurrence of two thirds of both houses, to interdict the commercial intercourse between the United States and any foreign nation or the dependencies thereof.

Third. Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several states which may be included within this Union, according to their respective numbers of free persons, including those bound to serve for a term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, and all other persons.

Fourth. No new state shall be admitted into the Union by Congress, in virtue of the power granted by the constitution, without the concurrence of two thirds of both houses.

Fifth. Congress shall not make or declare war, or authorize acts of hostility against any foreign nation, without the concurrence of two thirds of both houses, except such acts of hostility be in defence of the territories of the United States when actually invaded.

Sixth. No person who shall hereafter be naturalized, shall be eligible as a member of the senate or house of representatives of the United States, nor capable of holding any civil office under the authority of the United States.

Seventh. The same person shall not be elected president of the United States a second time; nor shall the President be elected from the same state two terms in succession.

Resolved, That if the application of these states to the government of the United States, recommended in a foregoing resolution, should be unsuccessful, it will, in the opinion of this convention, be expedient for the legislatures of the several states to appoint delegates to another convention, to meet at Boston... with such powers and instructions as the exigency of a crisis so momentous may require to preserve the sovereign rights of the aforesaid states and the people thereof, and to consider and propound the secession of the aforesaid states from the Union.


[1] This clause was primarily included in the OTL Hartford Convention because of the existing war and demands that the militias operate under state command, not national. A similar clause was included in this convention because the secessionists foresaw the need to raise militias if secession went ahead.


Decades of Darkness #2: Growth of Disharmony

25 January 1810

The White House

Washington, District of Columbia

United States of America

“You’ve read this... document,” President James Madison said, in lieu of saying something far stronger, as he threw the Hartford Convention report onto the table. He looked up carefully, watching for everyone’s reactions. “What do you think of it?”

Senator William Branch Giles nodded first. He looked angry, but then Madison had expected nothing else. Giles was here to represent the Senate, but Madison had chosen him because he was both a Virginian and a staunch Republican. “This is dire news,” Giles said.

“It spells trouble, certainly,” said Chief Justice John Marshall. He was also a Virginian, which was a good thing as far as Madison was concerned, since it might mean he was more likely to see reason. Marshall was busily turning the Supreme Court into the most powerful branch of the government, in many ways. Sometimes Madison had had disagreements with the Chief Justice, but he needed his support today, of all days.

“The Embargo Act has to go,” said Vice-President George Clinton, the only non-Virginian in the room. Clinton had been saying that for the last couple of months. He’d supported it at first, since he knew that the alternative Act was worse, but had shown grave misgivings since they first received word that the Federalists were gathering in Hartford. And Clinton’s home state was now wavering, too. Many New Yorkers felt the same way as the New Englanders.

“I don’t want to do that,” Madison said. He needed something to put pressure on the French and especially the British, whose impressment of American soldiers had been a running sore for years, and was only growing worse. The late President Jefferson had seen the same thing, and fought until his death to keep the Embargo Act in force.

“Congress may overrule you,” Giles said. “The majority of both houses want to get rid of it. They might get a two-thirds majority.”

Madison sent the Senator a sour look. “The British are confiscating our ships, impressing our sailors, and you think we should do nothing? We need to stop the British somehow.”

“We can,” Giles insisted. “The Non-Intercourse Act will-”

“Will do nothing,” Madison said. “Once a ship puts to sea, we have no way of saying where it will go.”

“If properly enforced, it might-” said Giles.

“If we found a way to enforce it – and I can’t see one – Calhoun and his fellow-travellers will scream just as loudly about that Act,” Madison said. He drummed his fingers on his chair. “And unless we can stop every way into the Canadas and Nova Scotia, it won’t be enforceable anyway.”

Clinton cleared his throat. “If I might suggest, Mr. President, better to allow the Embargo Act to be repealed and sign it, rather than vetoing it and then being overruled.”

Madison sighed. “Tell Congress to go head with the repeal of the Embargo Act, then.” It went against his better judgment, but he could see no way out. “We’ll replace it with... something. But we still have to respond to this outrageous threat.” He waved a hand at the Hartford Convention report still sitting on his desk.

“Surely not outrageous, Mr President,” Marshall said. “The Embargo has caused them grave damage.”

“The British impressments have done the whole country grave damage,” Madison said. “We can get rid of the Embargo Act – it might take away some of their steam – but as for the rest... They’re demanding intolerable amendments to the Constitution.”

“It’s not constitutional unless three-fourths of Congress approves it,” Marshall said.

“Which will never happen,” Giles added.

Madison picked up the report again, forcing himself to read it. “Forming their own militias – states to have the power to overrule federal laws – oh, look, only free men to be counted for representation in Congress.”

“That will never be passed,” Giles said.

Madison silently read past the passage limiting the President to a single term. That alone would have given him good reason to reject the report. But when he took it all together... “This will irrevocably weaken the Union, almost to the point where we may as well dissolve it. Any single state can say what it likes, and force the rest to go along with it.”

“Tyranny of the minority,” Giles said acidly.

Clinton said, “We could put it to the state legislatures. Most of them would reject it.”

“I don’t like to take the chance,” Madison said. “No, I think we should present this to Congress.” If they didn’t reject it outright, then they would tie it up in committee indefinitely. “Let them consign it to oblivion.”

“This won’t be the last we hear of it,” Clinton predicted.

“I know,” Madison said, suppressing another sigh. “I know.”


31 March 1810

The White House

Washington, District of Columbia

United States of America

Harrison Gray Otis adjusted his bowtie, carefully making sure it was in place. He was grateful it was only spring. Another couple of months later, and the summer heat in Washington, D.C. would make any weather intolerable.

“You still think you can convince Madison to see reason?” John Lowell said from beside him, as they waited to be admitted to the President’s office.

The Hartford Convention’s deliberations had included the option of sending delegates to Washington if the report wasn’t acted on. Otis and Lowell headed that delegation, but Otis was beginning to wish he hadn’t volunteered. “We have to try,” Otis said. “He did finally sign the repeal of the Embargo Act last week.”

“Waste of time, if you ask me,” Lowell said. “Congress will finally get around to voting for their Non-Intercourse Act this week, and we’ll be right back where we started. We should just tell them we’re walking away from the Union, and have done.”

“I heard all those arguments from you at the Convention,” Otis said. Lowell had proven to be even more extreme than Senator Timothy Pickering in his demands for secession from the United States. Otis himself took a more moderate line – he wanted to reform the Union along proper Federalist principles – but he had lately begun to despair of that possibility.

“Yes, and we went along with you and Cabot when you said that demanding secession was unnecessary. Well, Madison might as well have spat on the Convention’s report, for all he did with it. I think-”

Otis held up a hand, and Lowell fell silent as the President’s secretary arrived. They were ushered into Madison’s office. The President rose to greet them, politely shaking hands and inquiring after their health – Madison was a man of breeding, Otis had to concede, regardless of what else he may have been.

After the polite formalities, Madison said, “We may as well come to the point. You’re here to demand that I persuade Congress to accept the proposals of your “convention.”

“One doesn’t make demands of the President,” Otis said, with what he hoped was a disarming smile. “But we do hope you will listen.”

Madison nodded. “I’m listening.”

“Mr. President, Massachusetts – and the other New England states - have been gutted by your Embargo Act. Our merchants and ship captains have been left penniless. You need to understand the depth of distrust that people have up there.”

“I understand it,” Madison said. “The Embargo Act has been repealed.”

“That is a promising step, but not enough, Mr. President,” Otis said. “There is enough mistrust in New England that only more positive steps can help.” Such as approving the Convention’s recommendations, although Otis was not foolish enough to say that directly.

“Especially when the Embargo Act is about to be replaced by another just as bad,” Lowell said.

“We need to deal with these foreigners who think they can run rough-shod over the United States,” Madison said. “I regret the damage done to New England, and indeed to the rest of the country, but I believe the problems posed by the British and French actions are worse.”

“If you persist in this course, you will discover how wrong that belief is, Mr. President,” Otis said. “The rights of our states are being eroded; the principles of liberty have been sacrificed on the altar of foreign despots.”

“I don’t hold with this view of states rights,” Madison said. “I never have. We must stand united, and that requires a strong central authority. Your proposals would gravely weaken the authority of the presidency and Congress.”

“And the actions of Congress have gravely weakened the authority of the sovereign states,” Lowell returned.

“If you want your proposed amendments approved, you should be harrying Congress,” Madison said. “They have the authority to approve it, not I.”

“Some of our colleagues are doing that as we speak,” Otis said. “But if I may, Mr President, I would ask your personal view of the Hartford Convention.”

“I already told you; I mistrust the doctrine of state’s rights,” Madison said. “Accepting those proposals would have unacceptable outcomes.”

“You mean you won’t get a chance for a second term?” Lowell said.

Otis waved his colleague to silence, and turned to face the President. “You reject our Convention’s report, then?”

“I will do everything within my power to oppose it,” Madison said.

Regretfully, Otis said, “Mr President, until recently I had hoped we could stay within the Union. I truly did. But this high-handedness, the way our interests have been cast aside for the last five years, and how the interests of other states are allowed to run freely over us... it cannot go on. Either we make genuine reform, giving each state its proper and sovereign rights, or we shall have to part ways. I see no other choice.”

“I do hope that’s not a threat,” Madison said.

“So do I, Mr. President. So do I.” Otis rose, bowed and left. He did not look back, but he could feel Madison’s stare on the back of his neck as he walked out.


Decades of Darkness #3: The Gathering Storm Clouds

14 April 1810

Washington, District of Columbia

United States of America

...And so, Mr Vice-President, I regretfully withdraw from my office as Senator of the United States of America. I shall no longer carry out my Senatorial duties until such time as the legitimate concerns of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, as communicated in the report of the Hartford Convention, have been addressed. While I do not yet tender formal resignation from my office, out of respect for the dignity of this great institution, I cannot remain here.

Be assured that I carry out this momentous step only after the gravest deliberation, but I can no longer continue in this office as affairs now stand. With heavy heart I have sought advice from the Lord our Saviour in many hours on bended knee, and my conscience now permits me no other choice.

I remain, sir, your obedient servant,

(Signed) Timothy Pickering

Pickering folded the letter into three, sealed it, and leaned back at his desk.

I wish it hadn’t come to this, he thought. But every effort to change the Union from the inside had failed. Good morals and good government could never again be found within the United States of America. The Embargo Act had been the latest and worst in a long series of disasters which showed that.

Pickering himself had been advocating separation for years, and now more and more of the moderate Federalists had begun to see reason. Federalism could not be preserved within the Union; not with Virginians dictating terms and with Louisiana and the west about to be added. Only secession could save Federalism and New England now.


25 April 1810

Bulfinch State House,

Boston, Commonwealth of Massachusetts,

United States of America

The third-floor House of Representatives chamber was crowded, with the Senate members packed into the larger chamber to hear Pickering give his address. They would still have to adjourn to their own chamber to debate afterwards, but they all here and listening to him. Pickering had called in a favour from recently re-elected Governor Christopher Gore, also a firm Federalist, to be allowed to address the Massachusetts Congress [1]. He suspected that the Legislature would back the Hartford Convention regardless of his speech, but he wanted to be sure.

“A friend of mine in Washington, on hearing of our Hartford Convention, lately asked me, “Is not a great deal of our chagrin founded on personal dislikes, the pride of opinion, and the mortification of disappointment?” I replied, or to speak correctly, I prepared the following reply. But when I had finished, perceiving the sentiments too strong for the latitude of Washington, I changed the form, and now address them to you.

“To those questions, perhaps to a certain degree, an affirmative answer may be given. I have more than once asked myself, For what are we struggling? Our lands yield their increase, we are building houses, “are marrying and given in marriage,” yet we are dissatisfied. Not because we envy the men in office - to most of us a private life is most desirable. We are dissatisfied, because we see the public morals debased by the corrupt and corrupting system of our rulers.

“Men are tempted to become apostates, not to Federalism merely, but to virtue and to religion and to good government. Apostasy and original depravity are the qualifications for official honors and emoluments, while men of sterling worth are displaced and held up to popular contempt and scorn. And shall we sit still, until this system shall universally triumph? Until even in the Eastern States the principles of genuine Federalism shall be overwhelmed?

“Make no mistake, my friends, this is not merely a struggle between Federalism and Democratic-Republicanism. Many of the distinguished gentleman on these hallowed benches before me are themselves Democratic-Republicans, and I address my remarks as much to you as to my Federalist friends. For this is a struggle, not between factions of men, but between corrupt and debased government on the one hand, and liberty and good moral character on the other.

“We have witnessed, over the infant years of our young Republic, a struggle between these forces. And for too many years, the corrupt forces have been advancing. We saw how Mr Jefferson’s plan of destruction unfolded. If at once he had removed from office all the men of good character, and given to the people such substitutes as we see, even his followers would have been shocked. Instead, he made steady progress in the same course, and he has the credit of being the real source of the innovations which threaten the subversion of the Constitution, and the prostration of every barrier erected by it for the protection of the best, and therefore to him the most obnoxious, part of the community.

“With gleeful heart, he removed such upright men from office as he thought the mass could accept, and then installed men of lesser character, who even if they were steadfast at first, let themselves be debased by the corrupting system of our rulers. And he cast up Mr Marshall, another Virginian man of good intentions but flawed judgement, who is erecting his own system of repression, turning the Supreme Court of our founding fathers into another instrument for placing his own narrow interpretation of the Constitution above what we have always known it to be, and for binding all the sovereign States of the Union under his will.

“This then, was the course that Mr Jefferson laid upon us during his first term, and then once he had established his minions within the halls of Washington, and had secured himself re-election from the mass who had not yet seen him for what he was, he closed his grasp around the throat of our beloved Commonwealth of Massachusetts. For if the rivers and waterways of Massachusetts be our life’s blood, he sought to bleed that away by imposing an Embargo Act upon us that halted our free commerce upon those waterways, making them as festering cesspools instead. He left New England to starve while Napoleon in France grew fat gorging himself on other nations, and old England found her trade elsewhere and cared not one whit for his precious Embargo, and all the while Mr Jefferson said that he was acting only for the interests of our nation.

“And I ask you, my friends, what interests did that preserve? Not that of our beloved Massachusetts! And when in fullness of His time Our Lord took Mr Jefferson unto himself, then the Embargo Act remained on its course, and a new man rose to the office of President. But Mr. Clinton has spent too long in the corrupting system of government in Washington, and he wrung his hands and said that the Embargo Act must continue, and New England should still suffer ever more.

“Finally, to the highest office in this land – or so it is called – rose Mr Madison. He too seeks to follow where Mr Jefferson led, appointing men of debased morals to the offices of the United States, and kept the Embargo in force until even the mass could see his true character, and cast it out despite his approval. So for now, my friends, the immediate yoke has been lifted from us, and we are free to trade and rebuild what should never have been cast down.

“But for how much longer? We look with dread on the ultimate issue - an issue not remote, unless some new and extraordinary obstacle be opposed, and that speedily; for paper constitutions are become as clay in the hands of the potter. The people of the East cannot reconcile their habits, views, and interests with those of the South and West. The latter are beginning to rule with a rod of iron. So Mr. Jefferson and now Mr Madison has shown. And must we with folded hands wait the result, or timely think of other protection?

“This is a delicate subject. The principles of our Revolution point to the remedy - a separation. That this can be accomplished, and without spilling one drop of blood, I have little doubt. One thing I know, if we first left the left the tyranny of England, should we not now also leave the popular tyrants in Washington, who shelter themselves under the forms or the name of the Constitution, tortured and interpreted to suit their views? I do not believe in the practicability of a long-continued union. A Northern confederacy would unite congenial characters, and present a fairer prospect of public happiness; while the Southern States, having a similarity of habits, might be left “to manage their own affairs in their own way.”

“If a separation were to take place, our mutual wants would render a friendly and commercial intercourse inevitable. The Southern States would require the naval protection of the Northern Union, and the products of the former would be important to the navigation and commerce of the latter. For while Mr Madison has imposed his debased morals on us while he is in Washington, he could no longer do the same if we lived alongside him. Think not that we should seek to destroy the Union, as if we were a rebellious son destroying his father’s house out of spite – and many of those in the South indeed see as children – but rather, of our nations as a pair of brothers who may have squabbled while growing up, so that they could no longer live under the same roof, but who once they have moved into separate houses can then become amicable neighbours.

“And then, my friends, we could build a new government for ourselves. The solid principles of government applied to a federate republic - principles which are founded in justice, in sound morals, and religion, and whose object is the security of life, liberty, and property, against popular delusion, injustice, and tyranny. It may yet be that we could build such a government within the United States. At the Hartford Convention we proposed measures that would, if not in themselves guarantee that just government be attained, would set us upon that road. But the debased character of Washington has been shown in their rejection of our Convention, and I fear we must take stronger steps. Let us first approve the amendments of that Convention, as the first State to do so, and an example for others to follow, so that they may yet be approved by the individual States if Congress and the President in Washington still malinger.

“Thus, my friends, I ask that you move to approve the report of the Hartford Convention: first that this Legislature accepts the proposed amendments to the Constitution, that they be set in ink and paper so that not even the government in Washington can misinterpret our Constitution as it wishes; and second, that in accordance with the Hartford Convention, that this Legislature name a time and place for a second convention to be held in this fair city, and name delegates from those assembled here to attend, that this Convention might discuss what measures should be taken if the proposals of our first Convention are not hereby approved by the various States.

“Thank you for listening, my friends, distinguished gentleman.” [2]

Pickering left the podium to thundering applause.


[1] In OTL, Governor Christopher Gore, a Federalist, was defeated by Elbridge Gerry, a Democratic-Republican, in the 1809 election. Here, the stronger Federalist sentiment over the prolonged Embargo has seen Gore retain the Governorship.

[2] This address is closely based on a letter which Pickering wrote to George Cabot, head of the Essex Junto, and who presided over the Hartford Convention in both OTL and the ATL. In this TL, I have him reusing the contents of that letter, and modifying them in the light of later developments, to form his address. Some of the paragraphs of the letter have been used verbatim, some with slight modifications, and new paragraphs have been added to suit the nature of a spoken address rather than a letter.


Decades of Darkness #4: The First Rains Fall

12 June 1810

Boston, Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Republic of New England

Pickering raised his glass, the wine sparkling inside. “I give you... the Republic of New England!”

Otis matched the toast, raising it to his lips and repeating the words. Many people had made that toast earlier in the night, including Governor Gore himself, the man who had just signed Massachusetts’ declaration of entry into the new Republic. A Republic of which she was, so far, the only member.

After a moment, Otis nodded, and raised a toast of his own. “To friends of our new Republic; may they prosper and be numerous.”

Pickering raised his glass and repeated that toast too, but softly. It was a reminder of how friendless their new nation was. Formally, the four other New England states’ delegates had approved the Boston Convention and the new Constitution, but their legislatures still had to ratify it. Pickering expected New Hampshire and Connecticut to ratify it easily, but some of the hints the Vermont and Rhode Island legislatures had given meant that he worried about those states. And they badly needed New York to join the Republic, but that state had refused to send official delegates to the Boston Convention, although two of their state Congressman had come to observe.

Pickering said, “May your journey find us new friends in London, too. Better than the ones we’ve found in the rest of the United States.”

“Delaware votes Federalist,” Otis pointed out.

“So does South Carolina, and half of Maryland,” Pickering said. “But they won’t help us. We have to travel this road alone.”

Otis nodded. “Some of the southern Federalists may as well be Democrats. Bayard down in Delaware, for instance, calls himself a Federalist but advocates war with the British. We won’t get much help there.”

“So much the more important that we get recognition from London, then,” Pickering said. If Madison let New England leave in peace – which he still hoped would be the case – then Britain’s recognition would be helpful, nothing more. But if Madison was feeling belligerent, then Otis’s mission to London would be vital. The support of Britain would ensure that New England could separate in peace.

“And if not?” Otis asked quietly.

“If not, then we are in God’s hands,” Pickering said.


23 July 1810

White House

Washington, District of Columbia

United States of America

Madison felt hollow inside as he stared at the Boston Convention report. Five copies, each signed by one of the Governors of the New England States, ratifying it, including the secession ordinances and the so-called “Constitution of the Republic of New England” it contained.

Five states.

He had never thought the New Englanders would go so far as this. That they would make noise, yes, but no more. How could they betray the principles of the United States, of the Constitution? “Well, these New England Yankees have always been rebels and traitors,” he muttered.

A discreet knocking at the door interrupted him. He shook his head, trying to ignore the distraction, but a moment later the knocking repeated itself.

“Come in,” he said.

His secretary sidled in. “My sincere apologies for disturbing you at this time, sir, but there is bad news.”

Madison shrugged. “Five stars have just fallen from the flag, and two more are slipping. Next to that, what news could make things worse?”

The secretary cleared his throat. “We’ve just heard that Aaron Burr has returned to New York City from Europe.”

Slowly, Madison nodded. “Yes, that made it worse.”


Timeline of the United States of America and Republic of New England

- Excerpts taken from James H. Worthington’s “1800-1850: Early History of the Republic of New England”. (C) 1947: Boston University Press. Used with permission.

1803: Louisiana Territory purchased from France for US$15 million. Considerable agitation in New England, led by Thomas Pickering, but the time is not yet ripe for secession.

1804: Jefferson re-elected President; George Clinton elected Vice-President.

1805: Barbary war ends.

1807: Jefferson forces Embargo Act through Congress, ignoring the grievances of the New England states and other people affected by it.

U.S. Congress passes “Act Forbidding the Importation of Slaves” on 2 March, to take effect the following year. (Repealed 1834).

1808: James Madison elected President; George Clinton as Vice-President.


8 January: Death of President Thomas Jefferson. On the advice of Chief Justice Marshall, George Clinton takes the title of Acting President, acknowledging that the Constitution is unclear, and recommending that a commission be set up to consider this matter in due course.

4 March: James Madison inaugurated as President; George Clinton re-sworn as Vice-President.

14 October: Massachusetts Legislature issues call for a constitutional convention to be held at Hartford to discuss New England’s grievances, particularly the Embargo Act.

20 December: Hartford Convention begins.


5 January: Publication of the Hartford Convention report, proposing constitutional amendments and condemning the Embargo.

26 March: Embargo Act repealed; Congress discusses new measures such as Non-Intercourse Act.

25 April: Massachusetts Legislature ratifies Hartford Convention and calls for a second convention to be held in Boston.

4 May: Rhode Island Legislature ratifies Hartford Convention, the last New England state to do so.

20 May-12 June: Boston Convention held; delegates endorse secession, draft new Constitution. Massachusetts Legislature approves secession and endorses new Constitution on 12 June, the first state to enter the Republic of New England.

22 June: New Hampshire Legislature calls for secession.

14 July: Vermont Legislature narrowly passes call for secession, the last New England state to do so.

23 July: Delegates from the New England states return to Boston with the formal documents of secession, endorsing new constitution, and issuing writs to call for elections of a President, Vice-President and Congress.

27 July: Bitterly divided New York Legislature issues a declaration of neutrality, refusing calls to join the Republic of New England, but affirming its right to prevent its citizens from being forcibly conscripted onto either side. A further bill that would have denied the right for any U.S. or New England armies to set foot on its soil “in the case of hostilities” is rejected. Advocates of the bill, reportedly encouraged by Aaron Burr, vow to reintroduce it soon.


Decades of Darkness #5: The Florida Question

26 July 1810

Washington, District of Columbia

United States of America

John Rhea shook the President’s hand after Madison came out from behind his desk to greet him. Not content with that, James Rhea bowed as well. “Mr President, you are most generous to give me some of your time.”

Madison’s responding smile didn’t touch his eyes. In that moment, Rhea knew that the news would dire, even before the President uttered a word.

Sure enough, Madison said, “Sir, I appreciate the need which brought you here, but I fear I can give you no relief.”

Even though he knew it would be futile, Rhea did his best to present his case. He had not travelled from Baton Rouge in West Florida merely to be put off at the first signs of discomfort.

“The matter which brought me here is vital, sir. West Florida is in chaos, its people abandoned by the Spanish government... and most of us want to be American, now. We want the United States to annex us,” Rhea said.

“And, if I may speak frankly for a moment, I would like you to become American, too,” Madison said. “But alas, that is not sufficient. I can risk nothing that would anger Britain. That was true even before the New England crisis broke; it is doubly urgent now.”

“Most of the people in West Florida are of American birth, Mr. President. And the territory itself was land you bought during the Louisiana Purchase. Can you not spare some assistance for your fellow Americans?” Rhea knew he was pleading, but West Florida badly needed help. It especially needed a loan to fund its new government, but he would not ask for that explicitly, not yet.

“Not now,” Madison said. “Spain is a British ally. Annexing some of her territory, no matter how just the cause, would turn Britain against us. There is already a New England mission to Britain, begging for recognition of their so-called Republic, and they are meeting as we speak to elect a President. I cannot risk anything which would anger Britain, under those circumstances.” [1]

Reluctantly, Rhea nodded. He talked with the President a few minutes longer, for form’s sake, before asking permission to leave.

Disappointment filled him as he walked out. He had held such high hopes for getting West Florida admitted as a U.S. state. Now all those hopes were dashed. Maybe the Committee for Public Safety back down in Baton Rouge could organise itself into its own government – some of them already were talking about forming a Republic of West Florida. But if there was no hope of U.S. recognition, they would have to fight the Spanish alone. He doubted they had the strength to do that.

“Mr Rhea?” a polite voice asked.

Rhea looked up from his reverie to see a well-dressed young man standing before him, who then passed him a card. It read “Senator Henry Clay” and gave the address.

“I am Senator Clay’s secretary, sir. He asks if you would be kind enough to visit him at his home at your earliest convenience. I have a horse and buggy waiting for you if you can come now.”

“Gladly,” Rhea said, and followed the man out of the White House. He had heard of Henry Clay, a Kentuckian Senator who was loudly advocating war with Great Britain, but was unsure why the Senator would want to meet him, especially why he would take the trouble to have someone wait at the White House. Rhea shrugged mentally. He would find out soon enough.

After a short trip, they arrived at Clay’s residence. The secretary ushered him inside. Clay turned out to be a fresh-faced young man with a prominent nose and orange-red hair. Rhea hesitated; he had expected someone older. This man looked like he was too young to even be admitted to the Senate! [2]

Henry Clay rose and offered his hand. Rhea shook it gladly – Clay had a very firm handshake. After the usual exchange of polite formalities, Clay said, “If I may ask, what answer did the President give you about your request for annexation?”

“He refused,” Rhea said.

Clay smiled. “Congress chooses to admit new states, not the President.”

“You mean...?” Rhea let his voice trail off as hope filled him.

Clay said, “Most of the Congressman from the New England states have left. So have half of those from New York and New Jersey. With the Houses of Congress as they are now, I believe they would look favourably on a request from West Florida for admission as a state.”

“Would the President sign it?” Rhea asked, not wanting to see his new-found hope come crashing back down to earth. “He was worried about the British reaction.”

“We have the numbers to force it through over the President’s veto, if we need,” Clay said. “And as for the British...” He waved a hand dismissively. “They will come in against us anyway. The New Englanders have sent a commission to London already. But let them come.”

“You are that confident the United States can win?”

“Of course we can,” Clay said. He sounded brisk, energetic. Full of a young man’s confidence, Rhea thought. “Our fathers licked the British during the War of Independence, and we are stronger now than we were then. Most of New England’s people still support us, I’m sure, despite what their misguided legislators have voted. And the Canadas are full of American settlers who’ve moved there too. They’ll come in on our side, the Frenchies in Quebec will support us or just sit it out. That’ll leave the British alone against us, with no friends over here at all, and needing to send most of their forces against Napoleon. They can declare war with us over West Florida if they like, and then we’ll crush them. That’ll bring the Canadas into the United States, and then the New Englanders will come back to us of their own free will.”

He spoke so confidently, Rhea found it easy to believe him. Especially about the British being busy in Europe. Clay had a gift for inspiring people, it seemed.

Clay summoned his secretary, who reappeared with a bottle of blackberry wine and two glasses. Clay poured the wine himself, and Rhea gladly took up the glass.

Clay raised his glass and said, “To the state of West Florida!”


[1] I haven’t been able to find out whether Rhea travelled to Washington in person to plead his case or not – my sources vary. It seems plausible that he might visit in an ATL, though. Either way, Madison turned him down in OTL, and he would be even more likely to do so in this TL, I think.

[2] Henry Clay was under thirty when he was admitted to the U.S. Senate, below the Constitutionally-mandated age.


Decades of Darkness #6: The British Answer

26 September 1810

Number Ten Downing Street

London, England

Foreign Secretary Richard Wellesley looked around the room. There were only four men in the room, a sign of how unimportant Prime Minister Spencer Perceval – not that that was his official title, but Perceval had always accepted it as a proper title, not a term of abuse as it had been only a few decades before – rated affairs in the Americas. Wellesley and the Prime Minister were the only Cabinet members present. The only other attendees were FJ Jackson, as he always called himself, who had been the minister to the United States until recently expelled, and the Prime Minister’s Private Secretary, who was here to record events, not to speak.

“I’d prefer not to get involved here at all,” Perceval said.

Wellesley nodded. The Prime Minister was far more concerned with the ongoing struggle with Napoleon and the perilous state of the economy than in some colonial squabbles across the Atlantic. “None of us wants trouble with the Americas, but we can’t afford to ignore them.”

Jackson’s smile was cruel. “Why not just let them kill each other?”

Wellesley said, “Because once the Americans finished crushing the New Englanders, they would have a battle-hardened army, and be poised to attack the Canadas. Some of them were calling for an invasion even before New England seceded.”

Jackson said, “It’s better to have the United States staring at New England than staring at the Canadas.”

Perceval said, “But can we afford the distraction of fighting in the Americas?”

“It will be the New Englanders who get to do most of the fighting,” Wellesley said.

“And most of the dying, if dying is needed,” Jackson added.

Wellesley began to understand, then, why the Americans had expelled him. But the point was a valid one, however cynically it was put. “I would also ask, sir, if we can afford not to. The United States are an often vulgar democracy, and the chance to split them in half is one we should welcome. Even more worrying is their actions over Florida. They seek to steal land that belongs to our ally – quite apart from their illegal purchase of land in Louisiana. If we want to keep the Spanish onside and tying down Napoleon’s troops in the Peninsula, then we have to do something about the Americans.”

“A telling point,” Perceval said. “So, you think we should recognise this Republic of New England?”

“Yes, sir, I do.” “Divide and rule” had always been the British foreign policy in Europe; Napoleon’s current ascendancy was proof of why that was necessary. It could work well in the Americas, too. “What better way to guarantee ourselves a long-term ally in the Americas? They will always be smaller than the United States, and thus of necessity dependent on us, and they will protect our North American colonies at the same time.” [1]

Perceval nodded. “I’ll recommend it to Cabinet, then. And about West Florida?”

“Express our protest to the United States’ minister here, in the strongest possible terms. Tell them we regard the proposed annexation as illegal; that if it is not revoked we will take whatever steps are necessary.”

“Including war, you think?” Perceval said. “I truly do not want a war in the Americas while we are occupied in Europe.”

“I doubt it will come to that,” Wellesley said. Actually, he thought it likely, but wanted to manoeuvre the Americans into declaring war first. Otis had advised him that that would be the best choice, since having the United Kingdom declare war could turn New York sentiment against them. “And even if it did, it would be the New Englanders who did most of the fighting. We would give them mostly naval support, and our navy is less needed in Europe after Trafalgar.”

Perceval nodded, and spoke to his private secretary. “Be so good as to bring in Mr Otis, will you? We have some good news for him.”


Timeline of the United States of America and Republic of New England

- Excerpts taken from James H. Worthington’s “1800-1850: Early History of the Republic of New England”. (C) 1947: Boston University Press. Used with permission.


24 July-6 August:

United States Congress, meeting in special session (as agreed before the house adjourned in March) considers responses to the New England crisis. It eventually adopts the following resolutions:

1. New England secession declared illegal.

2. Proposes appointing commissioners to visit the rebellious states and persuade them to revoke their secession.

3. Adopts measures “in the case of war”, authorising increased budgets for the army and developing navy, but falling short of a formal declaration of war.

4. Congress resolves to have a new special session called to Washington on March 4 the following year, immediately after Congressional elections, to consider the New England response to the commission.

In a separate resolution, Congress approves “in principle” support for the annexation of West Florida and its admission as a state, provided that the locals organise themselves properly first. Authorises a loan to assist in financing the development of the province, with an invitation to reapply for annexation after Congress reconvenes the next year.


United States of America develops its armed forces, training militias and other activities. State militias are also being raised in New England and New York, although without formal approval of the as-yet unformed New England government. Occasional skirmishes between pro-New England and pro-US militias in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

28 September:

British Cabinet votes to grant diplomatic recognition of the Republic of New England; agrees to an exchange of ambassadors after elections are held and a new government formed there.

4 November:

American forces under Governor Harrison, having become more militant since the New England crisis, are defeated near Tippecanoe in a surprise raid by the Shawnee and allied Amerindian peoples, under the leadership of Tenskwatawa (the Prophet). Unconfirmed rumours circulate that the British have been actively arming and training the Shawnee for some months, fuelling U.S. anger against the British. Some historians class this battle as the first action in the Second American War of Independence, but it usually considered to be a separate conflict which was only later merged into the war.


The Congressional elections (and Senate appointments) return an increasingly militant Congress. The “War Hawks” are prominent in the elections, including Henry Clay (Kentucky), William Lowndes and John C. Calhoun (South Carolina) and Peter B. Porter (New York). While New York has participated in these elections, doubts linger as to the sincerity of their representatives (except for Peter B. Porter), as New York has elected two Federalist Representatives and one Federalist Senator.

In New England, Timothy Pickering (Massachusetts) is elected 1st President of the Republic of New England, with former U.S. Senator Chauncey Goodrich (Connecticut) elected as Vice-President. According to the resolutions of the Boston Convention, Pickering is President immediately, and the houses of Congress likewise both convene immediately “due to the needs of the crisis”, although all subsequent Presidents and legislators will take office on March 4.


4 March:

Congress reconvenes in Washington. Henry Clay quickly elected Speaker of the House, and the War Hawks, led by Clay and Calhoun, begin advocating war with Britain and strong measures against New England.


[1] This is contrary to what British leaders thought later, during the ACW. By then, it had become apparent just how much land there was in North America, and how easily it could be filled up with people. At this time, it was far from obvious what a colossus the United States would become, and the British were more prepared to do things which weakened the Americans (e.g. supporting the American Indians).


Decades of Darkness #7: The War Drums Sound

18 March 1811

Washington, District of Columbia

United States of America

Whereby it is noted that that the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland has:

1. Illegally impressed sailors of the United States of America, violated the neutrality of shipping, and unlawfully obstructed commerce; and

2. Armed, trained and supported the seditious activities of the Indian peoples in their insurrections against the United States of America; and

3. Refused to recognise the United States’ admission of the State of West Florida, which was duly passed into law by Congress as valid from the 1st of January 1811, and threatened the invasion and occupation of the same; and

4. Aided and abetted the rebellion threatened by the States of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and Rhode Island;

A state of war is hereby declared between the United States of America and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and her Overseas Colonies and Possessions.

Approved by both Houses of Congress, and signed into law by President James Madison on this day, Monday the Eighteenth Day of March in the Year of Our Lord Eighteen Hundred and Eleven.


Extracts from “A War of Ironies: A Short History of the Second War of Independence”

By James E. Howard

King George’s University

Sydney, Kingdom of Australia.

(c) 1949 Eagle Publishing Company: Sydney. Used with permission. [1]

The Second American War of Independence is a war full of ironies. Not the least of these is that it is only called by that name in the rest of the world; none of the participants consider that it suits that name. To those most directly affected by it, the people of New England, it is most commonly called the Second American Revolution. To those who live in the former United Kingdom, it is most commonly called simply the War of 1811, despite the fact that the first military actions took place in 1810, even if war was not formally declared then. Some Americans give it the same name, while others call it the Great Rebellion...

Perhaps more ironic still is that, in a war to prevent the secession of New England, the first blow the United States struck after finally declaring war was aimed not against New England, but against the British…


12 June 1811

Near Amhertsburg,

Upper Canada

“May I say, sir, what a pleasure it is to have a commander who’s prepared to attack?”

Major General Thomas Pinckney nodded to his adjutant. “Thank you.”

Around and ahead of them, Pinckney’s militia forces marched steadily under the hot summer sun. It was a dusty march, but better than being here during, say, winter.

And he appreciated the dig at Governor Hull, who had been in command of the militia here until a couple of weeks before. But he had been better at making excuse why he shouldn’t attack than at attacking, and so Pinckney had been able to inveigle himself into the command, leaving Hull with Harrison further west in Indiana Territory, to worry about the Indians.

Pinckney paused to spit on the ground. “The Prophet and his Indians need to be dealt with too,” he muttered.

“Not today, sir,” the adjutant said. “The British are ripe for the plucking.”

Pinckney nodded. Many of the British were further out west, helping the Shawnee and their allies against Harrison. That would mean trouble later, he knew, but for now it made his task much easier. If he could take Fort Madsen and Amhertsburg, the territory around Detroit would be much more secure, and the way would be open to invade deep into the Canadas. It might even mean they could outflank New England, since the New Yorkers’ declaration of neutrality made it difficult to suppress the rebellion.

“Indeed. Only a small force; they should have prepared better.”

“Too busy sucking up to the Federal-” The adjutant caught Pinckney’s eye and said, “The New Englanders, I mean.”

Pinckney shrugged to himself; no point bawling out his adjutant when thousands of his men were thinking the same thing. The New Englanders had tainted Federalism with talk of secession for years before they finally rebelled. One reason he was here today was to prove that Federalists could still be loyal to the United States. He feared that if he did nothing, the name “Federalist” would become a synonym for “rebel” and “traitor” before this war was over.

Some of the men parted to let through a returning scout. The scout said, “Sir, the British are just outside Amhertsburg, and we outnumber them by a lot.”

Pinckney smiled. “Pass the word to be prepared for battle.” He would prefer a night to rest if possible, but if the men had to deploy today, so be it. Victory would be sweet, if the first battle in the war belonged to the United States. It would be the harbinger of many more to come.


Timeline of the United States of America and Republic of New England

- Excerpts taken from James H. Worthington’s “1800-1850: Early History of the Republic of New England”. (C) 1947: Boston University Press. Used with permission.



United States Congress reconvenes for final session of the term. Passes further war measures, and admits the former Republic of West Florida as a state effective from 1 January of the following year, with Congressional and state elections to be held within six months. Fulwar Skipwith is the state’s first Governor.

Congress agrees to convene a new special session immediately after the expiry of the current term.



British contacts with the Indians in Indiana Territory and surrounding areas are strengthened, bringing the United States and the United Kingdom to the brink of war.

18 March:

United States declares war on United Kingdom; names New England states as territories in rebellion.

13 June:

American militia forces under Major General Thomas Pinckney defeat a smaller British force in the First Battle of Amherstburg; Fort Madsen evacuated as British forces retreat.


[1] James E. Howard has been denigrated by some professional historians as being a populist historian, trying to inject controversy into undisputed areas, of “glossing over” controversial areas in favour of telling the version which he thinks sounds the most exciting to his readers, and of having a distinct anti-American bias (and to a lesser extent, anti-British bias). Nevertheless, his history of the war is one of the most entertaining books on the subject.


Decades of Darkness #8: Echoes in the Mist

Extracts from “A War of Ironies: A Short History of the Second War of Independence”

By James E. Howard

King George’s University

Sydney, Kingdom of Australia.

(c) 1949 Eagle Publishing Company: Sydney. Used with permission.

...While Pinckney’s incursions into Canada provided some distraction to the British, as did the ongoing successful raids by the Shawnee in Indiana, the main question of the war was unarguably whether New England could successfully defend her independence. And thus the early fortunes of the war turned on the fate of New York.

It was well-nigh impossible for the United States to invade the rebellious states of New England without passing through New York territory. An invasion through the Canadas was impractical at best. And a naval assault was impossible, given the moribund status of the U.S. Navy and the hostility of Britain. Troops might perhaps have been moved by sea, but they would have been vulnerable to strikes by British marines, and cut off from resupply in short order.

Yet few United States leaders suggested invading New York. Even Calhoun and Clay, the most vocal of the warhawks, who had loudly approved of military action against the Canadas and West Florida, had shrank from approving any action against New York itself, which might turn the population against the United States. Formally, the state was still part of the Union, even if its militia and other forces refused to take any action against New England. The weight of population and industry in New York also meant that its departure would severely weaken the United States’ potential to wage war, and correspondingly enhance that of New England. More worrying still, its departure could inspire other states to follow – New Jersey almost certainly, and perhaps even Pennsylvania and Ohio, a point which had been raised during the Congressional debates.

From the New England point of view, however, a neutral New York served them almost as well as one which was a member of the New Republic – better, in some ways. It gave New England time to organise militias for their defense, without the risk of American invasion, something which may well otherwise have come earlier if New York had joined the Republic before the outbreak of war. And it gave time for the Royal Navy to base ships in New England ports, which made any major naval attack on New England impossible. And the British, lobbied by Secretary of State Otis, carefully took no action in New York or its territorial waters which might turn New York sentiment against them...

In New York itself, opinion was sharply divided. There was some sympathy for New England, particularly in New York City, where the Embargo Act had also gutted trade. Some of the more far-sighted thinkers recognised the United States’ inevitable drift toward slaveholding, and felt that New York’s own free-soil status might be endangered if it remained within the Union. And a few of the more prominent statesmen, such as De Witt Clinton and Rufus King, favoured joining New England, thinking that their status in that nation would rise much higher. After all, no New Yorker had ever become President of the United States of America [1], but in the New Republic, New York would inevitably dominate by weight of population.

On the other hand, there was some anti-British feeling in New York, particularly upstate New York, where memories of the First War of Independence were stronger. Loyalty to the Union also remained a considerable factor even amongst many New Yorkers who thought that New England should be permitted to depart in peace. Hence the declaration of neutrality may well have been the only practical choice for the Legislature, since either a motion of secession or a motion condemning New England may well have started a fully-fledged civil war within the state. The skirmishes which New York had already seen demonstrated that, as did the steady trickle of New York volunteers to join each side…

... The neutrality of New York thus became a vital factor for both sides during the early months of the war. Although New York had not formally forbidden American forces from crossing their soil, it was clear to both sides that any armies which entered the state would swing sentiment against the invaders. It became a waiting game, to see whose patience failed first...


4 September 1811

Hartford, Connecticut

Republic of New England

As the first President of New England, Timothy Pickering had had to deal with many men, including many he disliked, and a few he actively hated. But no man he had ever met inspired quite the same sense of loathing that Aaron Burr did. If Burr had not come in the company of De Witt Clinton – a much more reasonable man, and now one of the leading Federalists in New York – Pickering would have been tempted to refuse him a meeting. Burr’s intrigues in New York had been for secession, but there were probably as many men opposed to secession simply because Burr favoured it than the man had persuaded to support it.

When his secretary ushered the men in, Pickering rose and bowed, avoiding the need to shake hands with Burr. “Welcome to Hartford, Mr Clinton, Mr Burr,” Pickering said, again avoiding the necessity of calling Burr a gentleman. “May I ask what has brought you on the difficult journey from New York to the capital of this glorious republic?”

That was not merely a polite question; travel between New York and New England had become dangerous since the outbreak of war. Clashes between pro-New England and pro-Union forces in New York had escalated to the point where the state could almost be called in civil war. And American naval ships and privateers swarmed the seas, despite the British naval presence. Last week a British frigate had been sunk only a few miles out of Boston, and the U.S. frigate responsible had escaped pursuit.

Clinton said, “We have come to see what we can do to end this war. Without further bloodshed.”

“Have you?” Pickering said. “I wish war had not broken out, but I do not see how it can be stopped now.”

“It has brought chaos to New York,” Clinton said.

“And not far from it in New England,” Pickering said. Though the majority of New Englanders supported secession, a substantial minority remained opposed, especially in Rhode Island and Vermont, and the results of secession had not been peaceful. The organisation of militias had brought some measure of calm, but it might yet erupt again.

“But the cause of this war is the tyranny in Washington,” Pickering said. “They started this war, they invaded the Canadas, and only the neutrality of New York has kept them from striking us. Only they can choose to halt it.”

“And do you think the United States will abandon it easily?” Burr said. “Their armies are in Upper Canada, and their navy can strike into the waters around New England.”

Pickering sighed. “No, the United States have shown more determination than I had hoped. I wish they had let us leave in peace and live alongside them in peace. That was what I always wanted. But if we must defend our independence through force of arms, then we shall.”

Clinton said, “Your armies have not done much defending yet. Which is why we’re here.”

“You think we do not dare to fight?” Pickering said. Maybe he had been mistaken about Clinton. The man was reported to be a firm Federalist, and as mayor of New York City had been influential in helping people look favourably on New England, but maybe his principles had lapsed. His uncle was still Vice-President of the United States, after all, and had refused to repeal the Embargo Act when he had had the chance.

“No, we ask why you haven’t,” Clinton said.

“That should be obvious,” Pickering said. And he was sure that Clinton saw it too. They were obviously leading up to something, but he could not yet see what it was. “Our militia have been raised to defend their home states, and they can refuse to venture outside those states.” He did not mention the small professional army that New England was raising, from some volunteers and members of the former U.S. Army who had returned to their home states. That force was not yet ready to venture outside of the borders of New England.

“And the President of their nation can’t order them to go further?” Clinton asked sardonically.

“Their state governors could ask them to, if they wish, but I cannot. That is, after all, one reason we formed our new republic.”

“Will that ensure your defense?” Clinton said.

“For that, we can rely on the British,” Pickering said. He wished Clinton and Burr would come to the point, but they were clearly talking him around to something. He decided to place a barb of his own. “If I were from your state, I would be worried about a British victory. They claim a large part of New York.”

“That only matters if they win,” Clinton said. “And the war still goes on.”

Pickering said, “But do you truly doubt the British will lose? They have the resources of an Empire which spans the globe. They are distracted by the war with Napoleon, but if they need to call on their full reserves, they will. They will stop short of reconquering the United States, but they will hold what they can take.” He stopped short of pointing out that the British would be more willing to concede their claims to upper New York if it were part of a friendly New England than part of a hostile United States. Burr and Clinton both supported that already, he knew.

“They also claim part of Massachusetts, Mr President,” Burr said quietly. [2]

“That claim can be settled once the war is over,” Pickering said.

“Once the British win it for you, you mean,” Clinton said.

Burr added, “Consider, sir, how the British will view that. Their soldiers are fighting and dying in Upper Canada, their navy is under attack near your own ports, but you are doing nothing.”

“And what do you propose we do, then?” Pickering said, unable to keep the chill from his voice. Burr’s comments had more truth than he liked to admit.

Burr said, “Would the state governors order their militia into other states, if it was required to defend New England?”

“They would, yes,” Pickering said. Now they came to the crux of the matter, he thought.

“Then they could defend New York, if it was a state in New England,” Burr said.

“Of course,” Pickering said. “But are you sure it will become one?” He had always hoped that New York would join a secession movement – it had been a major theme in his writings since just after the turn of the century – but their lack of actions recently had disappointed him.

Burr smiled. “Perhaps you have not yet heard. Lieutenant Governor Broome died a few days ago.” [3]

“That is news,” Pickering said. “But how what do you want me to do?”

Clinton said, “I believe I can become the next Lieutenant Governor. And as mayor of New York, I can... influence how the people of the city view secession.”

“That would be welcome,” Pickering said. “But I repeat: how does this involve me?”

Burr smiled. “Governor Tompkins is a Democratic-Republican, even if he has been keeping very quiet over secession. He would hardly be a suitable candidate... for the next Presidential election.”

Pickering leaned forward.

Burr continued, “Your New England Constitution limits you to a single term, and further requires that the next President come from another state. What better place for the next Federalist President of New England to come from than... New York State?”

Pickering said. “So you offer...?”

Clinton said, “We can give you New York State, if in turn, when the next presidential election comes, you support my candidacy for the Presidency.”

Pickering could not keep the grin from his face.


[1] George Clinton was a New Yorker, but he merely became Acting President, not President. Madison is the 4th President.

[2] This refers to the British claims to part of Maine, which at this time was still part of the state of Massachusetts.

[3] Broome died in 8 August 1810 in OTL; here the desire to do something about secession meant that he clung on to life for a while longer. [4]

[4] Although he wasn’t necessarily in a fit state to do much about it anyway, which was another reason New York was so confused.


Decades of Darkness #9: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

25 September 1811

Albany, State of New York

As his troops marched through the streets of Albany, greeted by some people cheering but by more watching in ominous silence, General William Hull wondered if he had truly made the right decision in remaining with the United States. Connecticut still had its calls on his heart, but not strong enough to make him betray the Union. Not even being summarily replaced as commander of forces in Michigan Territory had been enough to change his mind. New England was better off inside the United States than out of it; he remained convinced of that.

Before long, his soldiers reached the residence of Rufus King. King had been a U.S. Senator, and still theoretically was, but the Congress was not in session. Whether King would ever return to Washington of his own free will was doubtful, though. Not with his public support for the secession vote in the Legislature.

As the soldiers surrounded the house, Hull walked up to the door himself. Such a prominent citizen deserved that courtesy, even if he was being arrested on a charge of treason.

King answered the door himself, surprisingly. He must have been expecting this visit; Union forces had only reached the city yesterday, but everyone knew what to expect.

“Ah, General Hull. What brings you to my humble home?” King said.

Hull said, “As you would expect, I am here to place you under arrest. The charge is giving aid and comfort to the enemies of the United States. Treason, if you prefer.”

King sighed. “Urging the Legislature to exercise its sovereign right to secede is not treason. A pity Governor Tompkins refused to sign the declaration of secession, but that will be solved, in time.”

“It is a violation of the Constitution of the United States,” Hull said. “And I am not here to argue with you, sir, but to arrest you, and eventually all the disloyal members of your Legislature that have not already fled the state. Will you come quietly?”

King nodded.

Hull stepped back and waved for the soldiers to come forward. As they came near, a rifle shot rang out from a nearby alley. Hull instinctively looked for the firer as he ducked for cover.

As his soldiers returned fire, their own rifles barking out, someone let loose an agonising scream. Hull turned to see King dropping to his knees, clutching his stomach.

“No,” Hull whispered. That shot must have come from one of his own soldiers. And to strike King, the soldier could only have deliberately aimed at him. No-one who was returning fire to the alley could have accidentally struck the Senator. How many people had just witnessed this deliberate act of murder? And one for which, Hull knew, he would probably bear the blame.

A second shot rang out from the alley, and a Union soldier dropped to the ground with a hole punched out of the back of his head. The other soldiers advanced, but Hull had eyes only for King. He had taken a belly wound, which guaranteed him the worst sort of lingering death. And instinctively, Hull knew that the soldier who died would turn out to be the one who fired at King. That soldier had been murdered in turn, by a very good marksman.

Even amidst the clamour in the streets, Hull could already make out a cry of ‘murder’. That word would be repeated over and over, he knew. More than anything else, he suspected, this would turn the New Yorkers to New England.


26 September 1811

Albany, State of New York

Aaron Burr remained calmly in his chair, despite the man holding a pistol.

“Give me that money!” the man said.

Bur affected not to notice the bag of coins sitting beside him. “Whatever for?”

“You know what for!” the man said.

“I merely discussed certain matters with you,” Burr said. “About how the Union soldiers would certainly be arresting Senator King and others. They will come for me, in time, but no doubt think me less important.” A mistake of which he had no plans to correct, either.

“You said I’d be rewarded!” the man said. He started to raise the pistol.

“And rewarded you shall,” Burr said.

The man pointed the pistol at Burr. “I’ll take it myself, then!” He reached out and took the bag; Burr made no motion to stop him.

The pistol shot which rang out come from behind the man, and caught him in the head.

“Well done, Jones,” Burr said. “Best to report this attempted robbery to the U.S. forces, since they claim to support order in the city now. In Governor Tompkins’ name, of course.”

“And you, sir?” Jones asked, from his hiding place in the shadows.

“Best I leave Albany, for now. The troops will inevitably come for me, if they aren’t driven out by the militia first.”

Burr rose and left, smiling in the near-darkness.


Extracts from “A War of Ironies: A Short History of the Second War of Independence”

By James E. Howard

King George’s University

Sydney, Kingdom of Australia.

(c) 1949 Eagle Publishing Company: Sydney. Used with permission.

... In the end, the United States had to move first. The successful secession vote in the New York Legislature may have provided them with impetus to move, especially when it was deadlocked after Governor Tompkins refused to sign it, but Madison had to act anyway. New York’s neutral status provided a buffer which afforded New England too much protection.

The initial entry into New York certainly suggested that Madison had taken the right decision. The Union forces had been ready to move for some months, and penetrated rapidly into most of the state, with General Hull leading a force to Albany itself. They received a warm welcome in some quarters, but that welcome quickly faded. The wanton commandeering of supplies from the locals generated hostility, as did the constant skirmishes with pro-Republic forces. But these were minor considerations when compared to the reaction to that greeted the death of Rufus King.

The assassination of Rufus King is a crime which remains unsolved to this day. Many theories have been advanced to explain it, some ingenious, others merely implausible. A military court of inquiry into General Hull’s behaviour cleared him of any involvement, but that finding was greeted with derision. Some suspicion pointed itself at Aaron Burr, but there has never been a shred of evidence to suspect him, and only his natural reputation for deviousness cast any suspicion on him in the first place...

In any event, the result of the assassination is unquestioned. Pro-Union sentiment in New York was significantly reduced, and Republican forces were greeted as liberators when they entered the state. The fleeing members of the New York Legislature responded by creating a government-in-exile, which was supported by most New Yorkers. There is no doubt that New Jersey would have followed New York’s lead immediately if it hadn’t been for the presence of large Union forces in the state, and certainly New Jersey sentiment followed that of New York when given the opportunity to express it.

In another of the war’s many ironies, a move designed to ensure the loyalty of New York State – arresting the vocal supporters of secession – merely guaranteed its departure.


Decades of Darkness #10: Moves and Counter-Moves

25 April 1812

Near York, Upper Canada

Smoke rose from his left as Major General Thomas Pinckney looked out over Lake Ontario. The lake had been British-dominated until recently – the American forces occupying Rochester in New York were hard-pressed – but the victory here should relieve part of that pressure. And the fires blazing behind them should have taught the British not to trifle with American arms. Pinckney had given orders to spare civilian lives, but their houses and property were fair game.

“Shame we can’t stay here,” he murmured. But their supply lines were hopelessly overextended; the main reason he had permitted the looting was the need to gather as many supplies as possible. He would have to return to Rochester or maybe even Buffalo before he had a secure base.

As secure as any base could be in New York, at least. The state was in chaos, with Union and Yankee forces trading blows across most of the state, and New York City itself firmly in the hands of the British and their Yankee cat-paws. Maybe most of the locals wanted to be part of New England by now; Pinckney couldn’t tell. If that was true, then that would be another grave blow against both the United States, and Federalism in particular. His heart still belonged with that party, but the actions of the New Englanders had tainted Federalism forever. Even now, his soldiers referred to the Yankees as ‘Feds’ much of the time.

His adjutant walked up behind him. Still looking at Lake Ontario, Pinckney said “This should make Rochester easier to hold, shouldn’t it?”

“I doubt it matters now, sir,” his adjutant said.

Pinckney’s heart sank when he heard his adjutant’s tone. “Is the news that bad?”

“We’ve just received word that there was a battle in Lake Erie. The British defeated our fleet there. Captain Perry was reportedly killed when his flagship was sunk.”

Pinckney muttered an oath. “We’ll have to withdraw, then.” He had been planning that anyway; but if the British had control of Lake Erie, supporting his operations here would be impossible. And now they had lost Perry, one of the few New Englanders who remained loyal to the United States.

“It could be worse, sir – you might still have command in Detroit,” the adjutant said.

That was a bad joke, and small comfort even if it had been serious, Pinckney thought. The northwestern frontier was a disaster, with the British reoccupying Amherstburg, and with their Indian allies on the rampage. Michigan and Indiana Territories were both under threat, by all reports.

“Better gather the troops,” Pinckney said. “We’ll be needed back in New York.” They had to hold upstate New York, or the United States would face disaster.


4 September 1812

Trenton, New Jersey

“Still more of these British and Yankees invading this state?” General Andrew Jackson said. “Well, if I need to whip them again, I will.”

The messenger glowed at the confident words, and was still smiling when he left at Jackson’s nod. Jackson wished he felt as confident as he sounded. The last year’s campaigning had been vigorous. And while Jackson had had several successes, including a major defeat of the combined British-New England forces outside New Brunswick, he knew he needed only one major defeat, and New Jersey would be lost.

The Yankees already occupied the northern part of the state. Their so-called ‘Continental Army’ – a travesty against the memory of George Washington and the Revolution – had found a welcome there. And one reason Jackson had moved his troops back to Trenton was to ensure compliance from the State Legislature. He suspected that if they dared to call a vote, it would come down in favour of secession.

“Of course, none of them are fool enough to try,” Jackson muttered, as he walked back to his command post. They feared being arrested, sure enough. That move had originally been designed merely to keep them quiet – no-one had seriously thought about executing the members of the New York Legislature – but it had gone badly wrong when Hull bungled the arrest of Rufus King. Much more than anything else, that had poisoned the feelings of the people of New Jersey.

“Where are the Yankees?” he asked, as he entered.

“Marching on New Brunswick, again,” came back the reply.

“Then we march too,” he said, and starting brushing out a stream of orders. He felt thankful that the British had not used their naval strength much against New Jersey, such as they had done last month when raiding Baltimore.

Another messenger entered, and Jackson paused. “Is this important?”

The messenger removed his hat. “Yes, sir. We’ve just received word that the British have...” The messenger faded to a halt.

“Yes?” Jackson said.

“Sir, the British have occupied Washington City.”


Decades of Darkness #11: A Tale Of Two Presidents

11 September 1812

Hartford, Connecticut

Republic of New England

Timothy Pickering, First President of the Republic of New England, thought he should feeling better than he did. By all the reports in the newspapers and on the streets, the war was going well. The attempted American invasions of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont had long since failed, and their incursions into the Canadas had proven short-lived. New York City was firmly part of New England now, and although upstate New York was a quagmire, the balance seemed to be tilting to the New Republic. The recent victories in the west, and the news out of Washington, certainly made it hard to see how the United States could continue the war.

“So, on the face of it, a success,” Pickering murmured. There had been only limited invasions of New England territory – two of the five founding states had not even been touched. Yet he still felt unhappy. The very thing which had allowed New England to advance – British intervention – might now prove its undoing.

There had always been anti-British sentiment in New England. He’d known that from the start, which was why he had taken the steps he did. Persuading the British to keep out of New York early had been important, as had waiting for the United States to declare war. Even today, New England and Britain were not formal allies – people remembered the First American Revolution too well. But with their close cooperation recently, they might as well have been... which was the source of his current problem.

The British were doing well enough out of the war that now some people were starting to whisper that the secession had been merely a move by the rich classes to reverse the American Revolution. That was completely untrue, of course. The principles of good moral government were all Pickering stood for, and had ever stood for. But especially in the rural areas, dissent was growing. It was disorganised as yet, but it could grow worse, the more the war was prolonged.

“Especially with the Indians in the west.” Tecumseh had proven a man of good martial spirit, even if he was a savage, and with their British allies, the Indians had done very well for themselves. But that worried people too, especially the New Yorkers.

Might people want to reverse secession? Pickering had thought he had dealt with that problem earlier, but it could resurface. A mixture of cajoling, pressure and necessity had been useful in the last two years, to solve the earlier problems. Many of the militias had refused to fight except in direct defense of their home state, especially once Britain joined in the war, and many others had given only the appearance of compliance. A few had even fought directly for the Union – the Freedom Brigade in New Hampshire caused occasional grief even to this day. But much of this opposition had faded over time, especially with the U.S. invasion of New York, and their high-handed actions there. And having the militias around to defend their home states was not entirely a bad thing, in any case. Still, the reluctance of militia to follow orders caused some problems. Even the Continental Army was reluctant to advance beyond New York.

The opposition of the state governors was another matter. There had been considerable reluctance to follow requests from the central government. Rhode Island, in particular, had gone along with secession largely because it was surrounded by other states that did, and now that secession had led to war, its government and especially Governor Jones were unhappy. He doubted it would come to counter-secession, but who could be sure?

Worse, he was worried that the war might turn this Republic into something too close to the United States for comfort. As President, he had had to give orders which he thought were best for the Republic as a whole, but which were sometimes less well appreciated by the states. He sometimes felt tempted to override them, but that might turn Hartford into another Washington, another central government tyranny. “Lord, give me strength to resist the temptation,” Pickering murmured.

But the problem remained before him, despite moments spent in prayer. Anti-British sentiment would not go away, and he didn’t want to have to press for more powers for a central government. It was one thing to have British support in a defensive struggle – that had raised some voices, but not too many to be manageable – but to be fighting alongside the people who had burned Washington was another story. Even many patriotic New Englanders who had despised living under the tyranny of Washington still hated the thought of it going up in flames.

“Maybe we should make peace now,” he murmured. He had never wanted to come to blows with the United States in the first place. Once war had started, though, he had to think what was best for New England. Any independent New England would need New York, he knew, and he had been saying that for years before secession finally came. Could he trust the vagaries of the peace table to deliver New York? New Jersey would be important, too, but he doubted the will of some of the people there. Many of them preferred to stay with the United States. But still, with those two states, New England would be equal to the United States. Without them, the Republic would be sorely pressed.

“But if we keep them, that will mean a longer war.” That might mean open revolt over the involvement of the British. And it would certainly mean that he would have to exercise central power more, which he detested. Making peace would make it easier to preserve good government in the Republic. In the end, that was the telling point.

“Let us stand in peace beside the United States. If we can make peace with them, then we can continue beside them in a government which maintains its principles.”

Pickering nodded to himself, and reached for paper to write a letter.


11 September 1812

Fredericksburg, Virginia

United States of America

A hotel suite in Fredericksburg – even the finest room in the finest hotel in the city – made a poor comparison for the Capitol Building and the White House. But for the time being, President Madison had no intention of returning there. The British had only been in Washington for a week before departing, but they could come back, and even with a reinforced garrison in the capital, Madison saw no need to take the risk.

But then, this entire war had been a risk, the size of which Madison had only slowly begun to realise. Britain had proven far more capable of fighting than he had anticipated, despite being entangled with Napoleon. And while many New Englanders had wanted to remain with the Union, there had not been as much support he had hoped. John Adams had spoken out against secession, but it had not been enough.

And then, the war itself could hardly have gone worse. The initial successes in Upper Canada and on the high seas now seemed a distant memory. Since then, the war seemed to be merely a long litany of disasters. Indiana Territory almost completely lost. New York City seceded, taking half the state with it. Defeat outside Manchester, Vermont and Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Vice-President Clinton dead. Albany fallen. Detroit captured. Much of New Jersey lost. Defeat on Lake Erie.

Oh, there were some flashes of hope. York in Upper Canada burned. General Jackson had checked the forces invading New Jersey twice, and was holding a fighting retreat on the third invasion... but it was still a retreat. There was some good news from the south. General James Wilkinson had done sterling work defeating the Creeks in Mississippi Territory, and the other Indians who sought to take advantage of the United States’ distraction. And West Florida was settling in as a state, despite his initial misgivings. But none of that could make up for the disasters in the north.

Especially the most recent disaster, Washington City itself. The embarrassingly easy way the British had defeated the garrison and moved in had been a major blow. And then they had stayed long enough merely to show that they weren’t being driven out, then left. They were just sending a message: they could do more, but didn’t want to expend the effort.

“Is it time to seek peace?” Madison asked himself. He could hardly stomach the likely result of a peace. Half the nation torn away, the Indians in the Northwest likely granted lands that belonged to the United States, maybe even West Florida and much of the Louisiana Purchase wrested from its rightful owners. Yet if he did not seek peace, much of that land might fall to the British anyway. If he sought peace now, while American arms had shown some success, he might have room to bargain... but seeking peace might itself be a signal of weakness.

A discreet knock at the door interrupted his thoughts.

“Sir, there is a letter here from John Quincy Adams.”

Madison raised an eyebrow. John Quincy Adams had been his minister to the Russian Empire since before the outbreak of war, and had remained there despite the departure of his state. That letter must have travelled a very roundabout route to have arrived here.

Madison skimmed the letter: its contents were brief and to the point. Tsar Alexander was offering to mediate between the United States and Britain. Apparently the Tsar wanted the British to be free to concentrate on Napoleon.

This offer, at least, Madison was willing to consider. The letter made no mention of New England, which was intriguing. But it would be good to negotiate with the British... if they would accept the offer. Madison didn’t know, but he had only one way to find out.

He reached for paper and began to write a letter.


Decades of Darkness #12: Winter of Discontent

5 December 1812

The Winter Palace, St Petersburg,

Russian Empire

St. Petersburg in winter struck John Quincy Adams as a poor place to hold negotiations. At the best of times, the city would still be far from the capitals of the main parties. As it was now, the city was cut off from most news by the tyranny of distance and winter. But this was where Tsar Alexander resided, and thus where the negotiations were held. At least the Russians knew how to heat buildings properly – inside the palace was always hot, regardless of the winter chill outside.

Adams supposed he would have been happier still if he had been given much involvement with the negotiations. But the United States’ main commissioners were Albert Gallatin and Henry Clay. Theoretically, Adams was meant to be included, but he had found himself being shuffled ignominiously to one side. It seemed that Gallatin and Clay – and by extension, President Madison – didn’t trust him.

Which meant that Adams had been given only limited involvement in the negotiations. The issues were many: the independence of New England (although that was assured, in practice); the status of New York and New Jersey; British claims on Detroit and New York; the relationship with Tecumseh and his Indian Confederation; West Florida’s admission; and indeed the entire Louisiana Purchase. Not to mention matters of trade, especially navigation rights on the Mississippi, an indemnity, and other issues.

And the negotiations certainly seemed to be taking a long time, especially since New England had inveigled itself into them. Tsar Alexander was meant to be mediating, but in practice he spent most of his time handling the French invasion. Adams had only seen the Tsar once since he formally welcomed the commissioners. If the discussions reached a deadlock, he expected the Tsar would intervene personally, but otherwise he seemed content simply that they were talking. And they were certainly talking... and talking... and talking, despite the strict instructions from Madison not to formally treat with the representatives from New England. All contact with them was directed through the British or the Russian officials – and Adams had found himself being relegated largely to organising such communication.

“No doubt Madison wants the negotiations to take a while,” Adams said, as he drummed his fingers on his desk, studying yet another written proposal from the New Englanders, officially written to the Tsar. It had, of course, been passed on to Adams without comment from the Tsar. The letter amounted to a statement that all of New York State belonged to New England. The United States still controlled part of that state, and were loathe to lose it.

But regardless of the issue of New York, Adams knew that the negotiations were being deliberately prolonged, especially the delay in giving any kind of formal recognition of New England’s independence. That could hardly be avoided forever, but it had to be kept away until after the electoral college had met, to give Madison the best chance for re-election. Adams was unsure whether Madison would be re-elected or not – another problem with winter in St. Petersburg – but he knew that the chances would be better during an ongoing war than if Madison was forced to concede a humiliating peace.

A peace which, Adams admitted to himself, would leave him with a question of his own: was his loyalty to the United States greater than his loyalty to Massachusetts? With all his heart, he wanted Massachussetts to stay in the Union, but it was going to leave. There was no questioning New England’s independence at this point, only how large it would be upon its independence.

The war certainly had not stopped because of the negotiations – both sides wanted to gain maximum advantage. At last report, Jackson had fought the invaders to a draw in New Jersey and both sides had retreated to winter quarters, while the Indians were still on the warpath in the West.

“So, can I remain loyal to Massachusetts, in a New England run by Federalists and beholden to the same British who we so recently overthrew, and who now support the savages in the frontier?” Adams asked himself. His only other choice was exile to a United States which would be even more dominated by Virginians. Neither choice was palatable, but he knew he would have to make it soon.

Sighing to himself, Adams bent over his desk and started to write a noncommittal reply to New England’s latest note.


Extracts from the private journal of General Peter Buell Porter [1]

Dated 18 January 1813

So, it comes to this, that Mr. Madison has been returned as President of the United States of America. For this we are meant to be glad, that we have not seen the electors choose a President who would be even more lax and ill-prepared in his pursuit of this war than Mr. Madison has been. And so this would be true, that we should be glad that some of the other men who placed themselves before the nation have been rejected.

But does this mean that we should be thankful for the election of Mr. Madison? I, for one, think not. For Mr. Madison has shown himself to be incapable of following good advice. Two years ago I advised him and Congress that the time was not yet ripe for war with Britain, [2] but they let themselves be carried away by fear. New England would not have struck first against us, and spending time to develop our army would have been a better choice.

And this gave us a war which every man now has realised that we can no longer win, merely hope not to lose too much ground. For even Mr. Madison saw that, and had to grant negotiations, aided by the only country in the world which seems to be our friend, the Russian Empire. What a strange and curious thing it is, that the only friend of our republic is the one among the civilized nations whose form of government is most alien to ours!

Still, this election has raised grave questions about our United States. For how could we in justice hold an election for a President who is to be appointed by the entire nation, when so many of the members of that nation refuse to take part? This becomes a question of law, and of the need for a reinterpretation of the Constitution, which never considered such a crisis, or indeed many other matters which have recently befallen our nation. For no proper provision was made of the death of the President in office either, nor of the Vice-President, nor of the office which his successor should hold. This is a question which our nation should urgently consider, once this tragic war is ended.

Certainly, the present solution which was adopted is most unsatisfactory. Indeed, I would be tempted to say that it was alien to the spirit of democracy. For my own state of New York to be most unfairly excluded from the presidential elections, even those districts which remain loyal to the United States and which are protected by its armies, is a violation of the principles on which our new nation was founded. It is perhaps fortunate that the recent admission of Louisiana [3] and West Florida provided enough electoral votes so that Mr. Madison could claim that he had a majority of the whole nation, even when the absent states were included. Otherwise, the damage to our institutions might be much graver, but even this presents us with a system in urgent need of repair.

Whether this system can be repaired is, however, a vexatious question. I must confess to myself a sentiment I would never express in Congress or to any but my closest friends: I see no hope for the restoration of New England. For while some of the people there desire restoration to the Union, more do not, having been angered by the United States’ conduct of this war. In this they are misguided – the death of Senator King was a tragic accident, nothing more – but I understand their distrust. One day soon, I suspect I must ask myself where I will stand, in the United States or in New England.


[1] Peter B. Porter was prominent during the lead-up to the Second War of Independence, as a “War Hawk” and supporter of the frontier development, which developed in him a firm hatred of the British. During the war, he led volunteers around Buffalo and the Niagara frontier against the British, distinguishing himself reasonably well, and preventing any major incursions into Buffalo from British North America. But like so many others, he was handed a poisonous choice on the conclusion of the war, whether to abandon his home and go to the United States, or remain in a New York which was to become part of New England, thus living in the land of his recent enemies.

[2] In OTL, Porter supported war with Britain but thought that the declaration of war should be delayed, even in 1812, on the grounds that the defenses were not yet ready. Here, the crisis of secession meant that war broke out earlier despite his objections.

[3] Louisiana was admitted as a state in October 31, 1812 in this TL, giving it enough time to participate in the presidential elections of that year. This is later than it was admitted in OTL (April 30), and Louisiana is now a smaller state. Baton Rogue and the surrounding areas are part of the state of West Florida (indeed, Baton Rogue is the capital of that state). Louisiana now has its capital at New Orleans. It’s still admitted, though, because the USA has a desire to add more stars to the flag, to make up for those that are being lost.


Decades of Darkness #13: Breaking The Union

March 17, 1813

Dear Mr. Strong,

I hope that this letter finds you in the good health that you have displayed throughout our conversations. The three-fold discussions between the representatives of the United Kingdom, New England and the United States, while they may not have progressed at a pace to suit all parties, were nonetheless held in good conduct as long as you were present, and your absence is a misfortune which I hope to remedy.

Since you have decided to avoid being present in person, leaving the negotiations to your compatriot Mr. Lowell, I must write you this way. I hope that you will hold this letter in confidence.

Let me begin by stating what is a plainly self-evident truth, but one which must be acknowledged: the Republic of New England, and more importantly the United Kingdom, holds the upper hand in these polite discussions. This is a fact that I do not deny. Nonetheless, the conduct of these negotiations in your absence has been most unsatisfactory to myself and the other representatives of the United States. We are being left no room to bargain; our most recent conversations have been conducted as little more than a list of demands read to us, with no negotiation involved. In such a position, how can the United States seek anything but continued war?

I submit to you, Mr. Strong, that a prolonged war is in none of our nations’ interests. The United States have already conceded much to avoid that. Under President Madison’s direction, we have recognised the independence of the five states of New England. Their separation from the Union is assured, no matter what other arrangements are made during the course of our negotiations. But to prolong this war when negotiating over other matters merely means more shedding of blood and expending of treasure. Even more assuredly, sir, as you yourself have commented in the past, it will lead to long-lasted hatred between the United States of America on the one hand, and the New England states on the other. Such a situation is surely as distressing to you as I find it myself.

I ask you to consider for a moment, sir, matters as they appear from the perspective of a representative of the United States of America. We have been asked, first of all, to allow the sacred Union to be torn in two by the departure of the New England States. This we have accepted, despite our misgivings. But since then, we face only ceaseless demands. We are asked to surrender the entirety of the states of New York and New Jersey, despite our continued successful defence of part of both states, and the wishes of the people therein. We are asked to abandon most of our Territories in the Northwest, to be partitioned between Britain and the Indians. We are being asked to relinquish two further States from the Union, both Louisiana and West Florida, and also the rest of the territory we purchased from France. As if the territorial demands were not enough, we are also being asked to pay an indemnity for this war, which I as Secretary to the Treasury know that we will not pay for no gain. Given such a set of demands, sir, do you find it at all surprising that we favour returning to war rather than persisting in negotiations which offer us no scope for negotiation?

I would ask, sir, that you return to the negotiations, and urge your compatriot Mr. Lowell, and exert your influence over the British representatives, that we can arrange a more equitable peace.

I remain, sir, your obedient servant,

Albert Gallatin


5 April 1813

Winter Palace, St. Petersburg

Russian Empire

“At least they’ve finally decided to show some room to negotiate,” Albert Gallatin said.

“There was always scope for negotiation,” Henry Clay replied, with a wry smile on his lips. “They were just getting their own back. We spun out the negotiations until the President was re-elected, so they responded by making unconscionable demands.”

“They’re going to get most of those demands, too,” Gallatin muttered.

“Most, yes, but not all, by any means,” Clay said. He wished that the United States had proved stronger, especially on the high seas, but now was not the time to worry about that. They had to make peace for now, salvaging as much as they could, then he could oversee the building of a strong army and navy. He had advocated that even before the war, and it was doubly important now. When the United States and Britain next tangled – as they inevitably would – then there would be a different result.

“It might as well be all,” Gallatin said. “New York State is gone, at the very least.”

“Inevitable, alas,” Clay said. “The only part of that state which we still hold is the northwest, after all. The British would claim that anyway. Better it go to New England than King George.”

“I suppose so,” Gallatin said. His nod held obvious reluctance. “But much of the northwest is going to King George, and more to the Indians.”

“Tecumseh is a noble man, even if he is a savage,” Clay said. “But don’t trouble yourself with the Indian Confederation. We’ve made treaties with Indians before. They’ve never lasted.” He shrugged. “Just be thankful for General Wilkinson. Without him, we might have to concede land in the southwest. That would be more troublesome.”

“We may have to give up the most important land down there: two states.”

“I doubt that,” Clay said. “If we concede matters elsewhere, they’ll be more willing to give in there. We’ll come to some arrangement there, and in the other matters of the frontiers, I’m sure.”

“You’re forgetting the most important part of all, New Jersey,” Gallatin said. “That’s not in any frontier.”

“I haven’t forgotten it,” Clay said. He just didn’t know what to do about it. Yielding New Jersey to the Yankees would give them altogether too much weight. When next it came time to discuss matters with the New Englanders, he wanted the United States to be in a position of unassailable strength. “It is the issue where we have to tread most carefully.” From what he could gather, the northern part of the state, and part of the south, favoured joining New England, while the rest wanted to remain with the Union. Did that mean they should partition New Jersey, with a separate chunk of New England in the south?

A knock at the door interrupted his thoughts. A moment later, Count Capo d’Istria, who these days seemed more and more to be the Russian foreign minister, strode into the room, accompanied by an interpreter. The Count had always used an interpreter during their discussions, despite Clay’s suspicions that the Count understood English. After a brief exchange of pleasantries, the Count said, “The Tsar is displeased with the slow process of negotiations. He wants things ended quickly. He calls both of you, together, to meet with him and the other commissioners.”

Clay smiled. “Tell him we will be there soon.” So, the Tsar had finally bestirred himself from his other diplomatic commitments. With the Russian ruler working for peace, Clay suspected they would receive a much more favourable deal than otherwise.


Excerpts from the Treaty of St. Petersburg

Originally published in “The Second American Revolution: The Birth of New England”

(C) 1948 by Richard Irving

Boston University Press

Boston: New England

Article 4.

The United States recognise the independence of the Republic of New England, comprising the States of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New York and New Jersey, and associated dependencies.

Article 5.

The United States recognise the sovereignty of the Indian Confederation, comprising parts of the former Territories of Michigan and Indiana, and associated lands, subject to negotiation of the precise boundaries of these lands. The United States agree to dismantle forts within these territories.

Article 6

The city of Detroit, and the surrounding counties, and the remainder of the former Territories of Michigan and Indiana, is ceded to the United Kingdom and the Republic of New England, which shall hold joint sovereignty over it.

Article 7

The United States agree to purchase from the Kingdom of Spain the lands comprising the former so-called Louisiana Purchase and West Florida, at a price to be agreed between those two nations, subject to mediation by Tsar Alexander I if such negotiations are unsuccessful.


Decades of Darkness #14: Falling Through The Cracks

5 September 1813

The Winter Palace, St Petersburg,

Russian Empire

“Please do convey my deepest sympathies to your President when you return to Washington,” Count Capo d’Istria said, through his interpreter.

The Count’s tone sounded appropriately sympathetic even before his translator spoke, but his words offer John Quincy Adams scant comfort. Adams also doubted their sincerity. Why would the Russian Empire feel any need for sympathy? The Tsar had gained everything he wanted through the negotiations: Britain was now concentrating on fighting Napoleon, and the Russians had obtained favourable trading terms with both Britain and the United States, and would probably gain the same with New England. Not to mention increased personal prestige for the Tsar, for bringing an end to war on at least one side of the Atlantic.

“I shall do so,” Adams replied. “And please convey my best wishes to the Tsar.” Even if Alexander I had been motivated by self-interest, he had at least tried to give the United States some concessions. The “purchase” of Louisiana and West Florida had been the Tsar’s idea, along with forgoing an indemnity as a result.

The Count gave him a sly look. “And once you’ve delivered that message, will you remain in Washington?”

That look pained Adams. Was the Count gloating, as Adams had to watch his nation tear itself in half? Still, there was only one answer Adams could give. “No, I’ll be returning to Massachusetts.” That state was still his home, even if it was now part of another country. Besides, few in the United States would trust him if he remained there. “I hope to work to bring New England close to the United States.”

Maybe he could even press for reunification, but that was probably doomed. But if he could keep the two nations close, that would be better. New England and Britain would not stay friends forever, Adams was sure of that. Too many areas remained to quarrel over. Commerce, the fishing rights of the Grand Bank and the disputed border of the District of Maine were three issues which sprang quickly to mind.

The Count said, “May your endeavours find success there.” He gave Adams the same charming smile which he had used to such good effect as a mediator. “Much as other armies are making progress against the French.”

Adams nodded. The French Empire was crumbling, which Adams felt glad over, even if Napoleon was the main enemy of the British. Some British lord had won a significant victory at Vitoria in Spain. “Do you think—”. He stopped as an overdressed Russian army officer strode into the room. The officer had a brief, excited colloquy with the Count in Russian.

The interpreter punched a fist into the air in celebration.

“What’s happened?” Adams asked.

The Count snapped something at the interpreter, who translated quickly. “Napoleon has been defeated in battle!”

Adams felt his eyes widen. “How?” The French Emperor had been nearly invincible in the field. Even though his Russian campaign had ended in frozen disaster, he had not been defeated in battle throughout it.

“His armies were mauled near Dresden, and Napoleon retreated from the battlefield,” the over-dressed officer said, through the interpreter.

“Well, well, well,” Adams murmured. This certainly made events in Europe more confused, but for the time being, it was no longer his problem. Since Madison had recalled him to Washington – no doubt to be replaced by someone deemed more worthy – he had other things to concern himself with. Still... “May it be the first of many defeats.”

When that was translated, the three Russians shouted down each other. Adams had to wait while they sorted themselves out and sent for vodka. They made him repeat that sentiment as a toast, and it was one he was glad to make. For a while, as the vodka filled him, he was able to forget about the troubles across the Atlantic.


6 September 1813

New York City, New York

Republic of New England

New York City: the greatest port in North America.

New York City: which should have been part of the United States.

New York City: still the base for the Continental Army and several detachments of British troops, even if many of them were returning to Europe now that peace had returned.

New York City: not a place Pinckney enjoyed being, but one he had had to visit, even as he now watched the city’s buildings shrink into the distance. Most of the U.S. citizens who were leaving this state were taking ship through New York, and Pinckney was among them.

At least I’m better off than most, he thought. Pinckney had a home state to return to; many of those leaving New York had been forced to abandon their homes.

One such man stood beside him: General Peter B. Porter. He had lost his home, and indeed his home state, despite his best efforts. Now that they were leaving together, Porter did his best to hold a brave face, but his bitterness still showed through.

“Where do you plan to go from here?” Pinckney asked.

Porter shrugged. “Some other frontier. Somewhere without the British.”

“That doesn’t leave anywhere near here,” Pinckney said. The British were all along the frontier, and down further south. They were still in New Jersey, where their naval landings at Atlantic City in support of the secessionists had finally swung the balance in that state. Andrew Jackson had done his best, but he could not be everywhere at once.

Porter said, “West, or southwest. Tennessee, or maybe Louisiana. The Indians are tamed down there.”

Pinckney nodded. Being further from the Canadas meant that the British could offer those Indians little support. General Wilkinson had turned himself into a hero in the west, by all reports. “No Indian Confederation down there,” he said, and regretted it the instant the words were out of his mouth.

Porter uttered a profanity about Madison’s eternal prospects which Pinckney affected not to hear. The New Yorker – former New Yorker, Pinckney supposed – added, “A hundred thousand American citizens making way for a handful of savages?”

Pinckney sighed. There was so much truth there. Some of those Americans would move to the parts of Indiana and Illinois Territories which remained in U.S. control. Some of them might stay and become British. But there would be a lot of them dispossessed, and a lot of them would be angry. Where would they go? What would they do?

Porter said, “You mark my words, there’ll be a reckoning for that.”

“Against the British, you mean?” Pinckney asked.

“Them, in time,” Porter said. “But for now, against Madison, for dragging us into this war in the first place.”

Pinckney that Porter showed remarkably selective memory. He had been one of the War Hawks who urged Madison to declare war with Britain, even if he had been less vocal than Clay or Calhoun or Skipwith. “What grounds are there for articles of impeachment?” Pinckney asked. He could certainly see none.

“If throwing away American territory isn’t a high crime, I don’t know what is,” Porter said. “I certainly know which way I’ll vote.”

Pinckney suspected that Porter would be excluded from voting. He might theoretically still be a Congressman, but Madison’s supporters would no doubt argue that he should be excluded, since the state he represented was no longer part of the Union. Either way, though, the next session of Congress would be likely to be full of incidents.


Decades of Darkness #15: The Great Debate

Something slightly different this time...


“Madison was the worst President the United States has ever had”

Excerpts from a sponsored debate held at the University of Pennsylvania on 27 June 1949

Opening Remarks For The Affirmative

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen. I’m glad to see such a wonderful turnout, some twelve hundred people. It’s reassuring to see so many people thought it worth showing to hear me remind them why Madison was the worst President we’ve ever had.

Certainly, most of you would know that already. Of the twenty-seven men who our great nation has chosen to become their president, Madison’s name stands as one of the few failures. Who else has presided over the loss of so much American territory? The first time Madison was elected, seventeen states voted. At his next election – and one he had to manipulate to win – there were only fourteen states, and two of those were ones shoved in by Madison to help his dubious chances of winning. And he then lost another two states after that!

Madison deserves the blame for other failures too, of course. Remember Washington D.C., back in the days when it was our capital? That got burned twice before we finally abandoned it. The second time it got burned... well, we all know about that already. It was a mistake, but at least it was the result of a decisive battle.

But the first time? The British might as well have just strolled into Washington. They only left because their soldiers had orders not to occupy any territory down here. Madison should have seen that the city was better defended. Indeed, he should have ensured that the entire country was defended.

And in that, ladies and gentlemen, lies the most fundamental reason why Madison deserves our scorn. His judgement. There have been other presidents who we barely remember, because they were nonentities. They might have made mistakes at times. Some, perhaps, might even have had worse judgement than Madison. But at least they knew their own limits. They didn’t get into situations where they relied on their ability to make good decisions. Madison, however, had the singular talent of being wrong at exactly the right times.

The Embargo Act would be excellent for making the British listen to us, he thought.

He was wrong.

The secessionist voices coming out of New England were just hotheads mouthing off, he thought.

He was wrong.

The American army and navy were ready for war, he thought.

He was wrong.

Even on the smaller matters, Madison’s judgement was horrible. If the decision had been left to him, West Florida would never have been admitted as a state - because he feared that it would anger the British. It didn’t, and when we went to war, even though we lost, we kept West Florida to become the great state that it now is.

But if you want further proof of Madison’s incompetence, you need only think about the verdict of history. Consider this: most of our early Presidents earned the privilege of having states named for them. I know our moderator, Ms. Brooks here – who’s doing such an admirable job, by the way – well, she hails from the great state of Washington. And do we have people here tonight from Jefferson State? Excellent. And Wilkinson State? Glad to see you could make it all that way. I’ll bet we have some from Jackson State, too. Magnificent. Now, folks, is there anyone here who hails from the state of Madison?

I didn’t think so.

That, ladies and gentleman, is why Madison was the worst President the United States has ever had.

Opening Remarks For The Negative

I’d like to begin my remarks by asking the members of this audience a question.

When we walked into this hall, is there anyone who didn’t salute the flag?

Of course you did. Of course we all did.

Look at that flag, ladies and gentleman. If there’s anyone in this hall who doesn’t already recognise it, then you need much stronger glasses. But look at it, all the same. Seventy-seven stars on that flag now, representing the seventy-seven states. And seven stripes, to represent the seven founding colonies which remained loyal.

That much, I’m sure you already know. But do you know who standardised the design for that flag?

Not many people remember that, these days. But I can tell you.

James Madison.

Yes, the flag which we all revere, the flag under which the United States has become the greatest nation the world has ever seen, was implemented by James Madison.

Is that the action of the worst President that this country has ever seen?

I think not.

And you will have already heard the speaker for the affirmative tell you about Madison’s failures. But no-one disputes the fact that Madison made mistakes. We all make mistakes. Madison was unfortunate to be placed in a time of great crisis – a crisis of his predecessor’s making, not his own – and that means that his mistakes are more easily noticed. But it doesn’t make him the worst president.

Let me put this situation into context. It is reported that when Madison first heard about New England’s secession, he remarked “five stars have fallen from the flag, and two more are slipping”. Those two states slipped, sure enough. But when Madison was first elected, there were seventeen stars on the flag. When he finished his second term of office on March 3, 1817, there were... seventeen stars on the flag.

And if you want to talk about Madison’s judgement, it’s unfair to concentrate only on the times he got it wrong. No-one’s disputing that he made mistakes. But he got some things right, too. He got some things very right. He implemented some valuable reforms. Most importantly, he gave us the Fourteenth Amendment. That is what has bound us together ever since. Before that, secession was legal. Anyone who wanted could walk out of the United States. The New England states were first, but who else might have followed. This great state of Pennsylvania, where we now stand, might have left without that amendment. If he could keep Pennsylvania in the United States, then Madison can hardly be the worst president our country has ever seen.

Rebuttal: Case for the Affirmative

So, there were seventeen stars on the flag when Madison left office? How much better would it have been to have twenty-four stars on the flag when he left office, as there should have been. If he hadn’t bungled the handling of New England’s secession, those states would still be with us today. Seven states! That is far and away the worst reversal the United States has ever suffered.

As for these so-called “good things” which Madison has done, what kind of reformer would ignore the real problems facing the United States? If he had been that good, he would have had the repeal of the slave anti-importation act during his presidency, instead of leaving it to his successors. Or he could have formalised the rules for indenture, or any of the other decisions that made the United States the great nation it is today.

Madison’s “achievements” were minor, but his failures are clear for all to see. He bungled everything he touched, and when some good things happened during his tenure in office, they were the work of others. The impeachment of Madison should have succeeded. It came close, and if it had gone ahead, we would have a much different United States than today. And a much better one, too. Madison was, and likely will always remain, the worst president the United States has ever had.

Rebuttal: Case for the Negative

The New England states would be with us, if Madison wasn’t elected? That, ladies and gentleman, is a statement I cannot credit. We need only look at the country the Yankees have built for themselves today. They are far too different from us. They do not even understand the importance of maintaining proper rules of property. Even if Madison had somehow kept them from seceding – which would have been near-impossible, since at that time the British Empire was the greatest nation in the world – then they would have left soon enough. So this so-called “failure” was merely the inevitable striking while Madison happened to be in office. If there had been a different president in office, the result would have been similar.

To be sure, Madison made mistakes. But he did many good things during his time in office, too. He could have done much worse. He can hardly be considered our worst president.


Decades of Darkness #16: The Butterfly’s Wings

Extracts from “Napoleon Bonaparte: The First French Tyrant”

By Malcolm Davis III

Baton Rogue, West Florida

United States of America

(c) 1947 Conrad Publishing Company: Baton Rogue. Used with permission.

Chapter 24: The 1813 Campaign

The disastrous invasion of Russia had shown the nations of Europe that Napoleon’s days were numbered. The only question which remained to be answered was how long his final defeat would take. With Austria, Russia, Prussia and Britain and other minor powers united against him in the Sixth Coalition, and with barely 100,000 of the once half-million strong Grande Armee surviving the retreat [1], it seemed unlikely that Napoleon could survive for very long at all...

The defeat at Dresden – actually more of a draw than anything else, but which the Allies loudly proclaimed a crushing victory – appeared, for a time, to be the snowball that started an avalanche. Most of Napoleon’s remaining German allies deserted him, including Bavaria.

Yet despite this loss, Napoleon showed again and again that he still had tactical genius. He defeated the allies again at Kulm and Katzbach. That was enough to persuade the allies to revert to their earlier strategy of fighting only Napoleon’s marshals, avoiding battle with the Tyrant himself. After a series of defeats of the French marshals, the largest clash of the Napoleonic Wars was fought at Leipzig... [2]

The sheer number of forces arrayed against Napoleon meant that his defeat was virtually assured. The French fought a valiant defence, holding off the Allies for four days, and eventually extricating themselves and fleeing across the Rhine, but the important fact was that the French had been evicted from German soil. The remainder of the wars would now be fought in France...

Chapter 32: The 1815 Campaign

Waterloo, on the face of it, appeared to be a victory for Napoleon. The Anglo-Dutch forces under Wellington were broken and departed from the field. While the Duke had given a better account of himself against Napoleon than most of his predecessors – especially when so badly outnumbered – it appeared that once again, the Emperor would prove victorious... [3] And thus, he uttered his famous words, “J’ai retourné” [4]

But he had forgotten about Blucher. And when the Prussian armies caught Napoleon, they became, in the words of Duke Wellington, “the hammer who broke him against our anvil”. The regrouped Anglo-Dutch armies were able to hold him, and Napoleon was decisively defeated. From that moment on, “Waterloo” entered the popular lexicon for a premature proclamation of victory...


Extracts taken from “The Compleat Textbook Series: Modern European History”

By J. Edward Fowler (Principal Author)

Sydney, Kingdom of Australia.

(c) 1948 Eagle Publishing Company: Sydney. Used with permission.

The Congress of Vienna

[Events marked with an asterisk (*) are different from the OTL outcomes of the Congress of Vienna.]

*1 December 1814 – *9 July 1815

The “Congress of Vienna” is a misnomer, in that the delegates never met in sessions; the discussions took place informally amongst the Great Powers (Russia, Britain, Austria, Prussia and, later, France) whilst the myriad delegates from the lesser nations were mostly left to attend the festivities arranged by the Austrian Emperor.

The Congress, in general, adopted a policy of returning to status quo ante bellum, and not providing either great rewards or great punishments to any of the powers. It focused on returning monarchs to their thrones – or to a different throne if another fundament already occupied that particular throne.

The main outcomes of the Congress of Vienna were as follows:


- received the majority of the Polish-speaking lands, as the Grand Duchy of Warsaw in personal union with the Russian Emperor Alexander I.

- maintained possession of Bessarabia (from the Ottoman Empire)

- kept possession of Finland (from Sweden)


- received many Italian possessions: Illyria (Trieste, Carinthia and Carniola), Milan and Lombardy, Venetia, and Cattaro.

- in the German-speaking lands, obtained Tyrol and Salzburg.

- retained eastern Galicia (except for Krakow)


- gained Malta

- gained Heligoland

- obtained Mauritius and Santa Lucia from France, *but returned Tobago.

- obtained Ceylon and the Cape from the Dutch

- *returned Trinidad to Spain [5]

- *kept Saint-Pierre and Miquelon from France


- obtained considerable parts of the German-speaking lands, including *Saxony, the Grand Duchy of Berg, part of Westphalia, *territory on the Rhine between Julich and Cologne, *parts of Hessen and Hessen Kassel, and Pomerania. [6]

- was confirmed in its territory from previous partitions of the Polish-speaking lands, included Posen and the cities of Thorn and Danzig


- Were organised into a German Confederation to replace the Holy Roman Empire. The old German states were consolidated from more than 300 to *39, [7] with a Diet at Frankfurt. The member states retained independence in their internal affairs, but were forbidden from declaring war on each other, and foreign adventures required the Confederation’s approval. Most of the German minor powers were completely part of the Confederation, but the Flemish-speaking parts of the Austrian Netherlands were outside it (along with large parts of Prussia and Austria, the two Great Powers).

- Hanover was elevated to a kingdom and was granted Hildesheim and East Frisia.

- Bavaria was granted the Palatinate and *the Rhineland up to the new border of Nassau.

- Nassau *lost its Right Bank territories and *received compensatory territories in the Rhineland between Bavaria and Cologne (which became part of Prussia)

- Hessen and Heseen Kessel *lost their northern and eastern territories (to Prussia) and were compensated with a partition of the Right Bank territories of Nassau

- The Netherlands became a kingdom under the House of Orange, and were granted the Austrian Netherlands, the *Grand Duchy of Luxembourg [8], and the *Rhineland up to the Prussian border. Luxembourg and the Netherlands proper functioned as two member states in the German Confederation.


- Ferdinand IV was confirmed as King of the Two Sicilies

- The Empress Marie Louise received Guastella, Parma and Piacenza for life

- The Kingdom of Sardinia was awarded Genoa

- Modena was granted to the Archduke Francois d’Este

- Tuscany became a Grand Duchy under Ferdinand (Austrian Emperor Francis’s uncle)


- Denmark was granted Schleswig-Holstein, as separate states in personal union.

- Sweden lost Finland, but was granted Norway and *retained Guadeloupe. [9]


- Confirmed within the borders of the Second Treaty of Paris, with minor variations

- Received Martinique and the Isle of Bourbon from Britain

- Received French Guiana from Portugal

- Confirmed as retaining the formal papal legation of Avignon


- Confirmed in its neutrality by the major European powers

- Received 3 additional cantons (Geneva, Wallis and Neuchatel)


[1] In this TL, Napoleon accepted Marshal Davout’s advice to take a different route on the retreat from Moscow, avoiding already-plundered Smolensk. The result was still a massive disaster for France, but more of the army survived.

[2] This battle was fought later in the year than in OTL, but given the strategic position of the city, it still seems reasonable to me that, despite the different details of the campaign, that a battle would be fought at Leipzig.

[3] Napoleon ignored the rain here and attacked earlier in the day. It was enough to gain a (temporary) victory over Wellington.

[4] This is meant to be French for “I have returned.” (Shades of Douglas “MacArthur” Bonaparte here).

[5] Mostly out of guilt for forcing the Spanish to give up West Florida, the British allow them to retain Trinidad. Since they no longer have Trinidad, they also judge Tobago is not worth having, and return it to France.

[6] Due to more money spent in the Americas, and the defeat of Wellington, British influence at the Congress was reduced. This meant that the Prussians got much less of the Rhineland: the rest was divvied up between Nassau, Bavaria and the Netherlands. The Prussians got Saxony instead. The reduction of British influence also meant that the Congress did not adopt an official resolution condemning the slave trade, although the French did agree to do what they could to reduce it, and Spain and Portugal to begin steps in that direction.

[7] This is the same number of member states as in OTL, but the members are different: there is no longer a Kingdom of Saxony, and the Netherlands have been included.

[8] While the Netherlands also received the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg in OTL, it was a separate state in personal union. With the enlarged role of the Netherlands within TTL’s German Confederation, there was no need to make Luxembourg a separate state, and it became part of the United Netherlands.

[9] Since the French retained Tobago, the Swedes were permitted to keep Guadeloupe.


Decades of Darkness #17: In The Aftermath Of War

The Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States was ratified by the West Florida Legislature on 10 December 1813, the tenth state to do so, and went into force on 4 March 1814.

If any citizen of the United States shall accept, claim, receive or retain any title of nobility or honour, or shall, without the consent of Congress, accept and retain any present, pension, office or emolument of any kind whatever, from any emperor, king, prince or foreign power, such person shall cease to be a citizen of the United States, and shall be incapable of holding any office of trust or profit under them, or either of them.


The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States was ratified by the West Florida Legislature on 9 December 1815, the tenth state to do so, and went into force on 4 March 1816.

Section 1:

The Constitution of the United States is hereby acknowledged to be a permanent union. No ordinance of secession, which shall be passed by any individual State, shall be permitted under this Constitution.

Section 2:

Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 1, if a state shall desire to secede from the United States, that State may submit a motion of secession to its Legislature. If such a motion is ratified by three-fifths of the members of each of the Houses of that State's Legislature, or by three-fifths of a convention called by the Legislature to debate the motion, then the motion shall be submitted to the Congress of the United States. If the motion of secession is passed by a two-thirds majority of both Houses of Congress, then that motion shall become law.


The Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States was ratified by the West Florida Legislature on 9 December 1815, the tenth state to do so, and went into force on 4 March 1816. [1]

Section 1.

In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.

Section 2.

Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate from among the members of the Senate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.

Section 3.

If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President elect shall have died, the Vice President elect shall become President. If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified; and the Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President elect shall have qualified, declaring from among the members of the Senate, who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have qualified. [2]


The Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States: [3]

No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.


The Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States was ratified by the Illinois Legislature on 9 December 1817, the tenth state to do so, and went into force on 1 January 1818.

Section 4:

The Constitution of the United States being the supreme law of this nation, and the Congress of the United States being the legislative branch, Congress shall have authority to: [4]

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the several States. The disposition of taxes, duties, imposts and excises may be varied from this uniform arrangement in Territories and in other possessions which the United States may acquire which have not yet been granted Territorial status;

To establish post offices and post roads, and any other roads, canals or other methods of transport which the Congress shall deem to benefit the United States, or the several states, or its commerce thereof;


Selected Important Dates in North American History:1810-1820

Taken from “The Compleat Textbook Series: Early American History”

By J. Edward Fowler (Principal Author)

Sydney, Kingdom of Australia.

(c) 1948 Eagle Publishing Company: Sydney. Used with permission

1 January 1811: West Florida admitted as the 18th state (later reclassified as the 11th state). West Florida is a slave state.

20 April 1812: Death of Vice-President George Clinton.

31 October 1812: Louisiana enters the Union as the 19th state (later reclassified as the 12th state). Louisiana is a slave state.

27 July 1813: Treaty of St Petersburg ratified by the U.S. Senate, officially ending the Second War of Independence. [5] Concurrent with this treaty, New York and New Jersey become states in New England (the 6th and 7th, respectively).

Displaced settlers from the northern lands move south, into Missouri Territory, what remains of Indiana and Illinois Territories, and into the “Old Southwest”. More settlers move into the southern areas from the rest of the United States, including many of those frontiersmen displaced from New York and other Unionists fleeing the New England states. Many of those displaced from New York settle in Pennsylvania; displaced New Jerseyans congregate in Delaware.

12 December 1813: Attempted impeachment of President Madison fails in the House of Representatives: Clay and Calhoun are instrumental in defeating the motion.

1 June 1814: President Pickering authorises the new design of the New England flag: A red Cross of St George on a white field, with a blue canton and white stars representing the states. [6]

4 March 1815: De Witt Clinton (New York) inaugurated as second President of the Republic of New England. Chauncey Goodrich (Connecticut) inaugurated as Vice-President.

6 June 1815: Indiana enters the Union as the 13th state. Indiana is admitted as a free-soil state (free-soil status later repealed).

1 January 1816: Mississippi and Alabama admitted to the United States as the 14th and 15th states, respectively, formed out of the old Mississippi Territory. [7] Both are slave states.

2 January 1816: After holding a national competition for a design, Madison promulgates the new flag of the United States: The flag contains four red and three white stripes (representing the seven remaining founding colonies). It has a blue canton with white stars representing each of the states (15 stars at the time of the flag’s acceptance).

12 June 1816: Illinois admitted to the Union as the 16th state. Illinois is admitted as a free-soil state (free-soil status later repealed).

1 February 1817 Missouri admitted to the Union as the 17th state. Missouri is admitted as a slave state.

4 March 1817: James Wilkinson (Louisiana) inaugurated as 5th President of the United States. James Monroe (Virginia) inaugurated as Vice-President. [8]


[1] Yes, I know this is similar to the wording of the OTL Twenty-Fifth Amendment (and the Twentieth). There are, however, a couple of important differences. It seems logical to me that after having first a President, then a Vice-President die in office, such an amendment would be devised that much sooner.

[2] This amendment also included a Section 4 and Section 5, whose effective wording is identical to that of Sections 3 and 4 of the OTL Twenty-Fifth Amendment. They’ve been omitted here to avoid repetition.

[3] This amendment, which was proposed as part of the original Bill of Rights, took rather a long time to be ratified in OTL (until 1992, to be precise). The reduced number of states saw it ratified earlier here. [9]

[4] This amendment replaced, and added to, Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution. I’ve only included those sections which were added or modified.

[5] The legislators would be getting really, really tired of having to meet in Washington every summer.

[6] The earlier, war-time flag of New England was a striped flag with a rattlesnake on it. (Thanks to Ernest Cline for his input on flag designs for New England).

[7] The southern boundaries of these states end at West Florida’s northern border, they have no Gulf Coast. Other boundaries are essentially identical to OTL.

[8] Monroe did not get the same prestige during the War of 1811 as he did during the OTL War of 1812. Wilkinson was popular as a war hero, particularly with his anti-Indian credentials, and thus carried most of the states which were worried about Indians in their boundaries (which was most of the United States).

[9] The other proposed amendment, regarding the number of Representatives, still failed of ratification. [10]

[10] There is no footnote 10.


Decades of Darkness #18: The Next Generation

5 December 1816

Near Nob Creek, Kentucky

United States of America

The log cabin looked awfully small to Thomas Lincoln, as he set his eyes on it for the last time. It had housed him and his family for the last five years, but now he had to depart. The legal wrangles which had cost him part of his farm were just too much, and now he needed to strike out elsewhere.

“I’ll miss this place,” Nancy Lincoln said. She held their older son Abraham [1] with one hand, and their younger son Thomas in the other. [2] Their only daughter, Sarah, brought up the rear.

“So will I,” Thomas said. “But we’ll find something better in Missouri, I know it.”

His wife nodded, while young Abraham looked around, apparently excited by the journey. It probably hadn’t sunk in yet that they would never see this cabin again. But they would find a better life, Thomas was sure. There was land for the taking in Missouri, and that was enough for him to decide to go.

That territory would soon become a state, if the rumours were true, but it was still a large land with not many people, and the perfect place for a new life.

“To Missouri!” he said.


4 March 1819

Near the Susquehanna River, Pennsylvania

United States of America

What happened on 4 March 1819 – apart from the minor matter of the inauguration of the third president of New England, an event which few in the United States cared about – would be argued about for generations to come. To an ever-increasing number of believers, the events of 4 March were the beginning of a great faith. To most skeptics, particularly those inside the United States, this was just the first instance of a charlatan Yankee whose family should never have been allowed across the still-open border between New York and Pennsylvania. [3]

The only account of that day was that related by Joseph Smith himself, years after the event. He claimed that after earlier reading a Biblical passage instructing those who needed guidance to ask of God, he had gone out into the woods to pray, asking God what was the true church. He claimed that he was visited by two “personages” – who called themselves God the Father and God the Son, the Christ – who talked to him, telling him that none of the churches yet in the world were the true church.

Since no-one can very what the very precious thirteen-year-old did – if indeed he did anything – this account can never be verified. But it was, without doubt, the beginning of something much larger...


28 March 1818

Cumberland Island, Georgia

United States of America

Eleven-year-old Robert Edward Lee kept his head down as the funeral service rolled on. His father was gone. He held back his tears easily; he had already done his crying in private. The long years of his father’s declining health – almost as long as Robert could remember – had given him plenty of time to prepare himself. His father’s death was a cause for sadness, but not surprise.

“They should never have called you traitor, father,” Lee said. His father had been a hero of the Revolution even before Robert was born, and staunchly committed to it all his life, yet men had called him a traitor because he adhered to the Federalists. So what if Henry Lee had wanted to let the New England states go without forcing them to remain?

His head bowed, Robert vowed on his father’s death, that he would not make the same mistake. He would join the army, just as his father had, but he no-one would call him traitor. New England was gone, and the United States would surely be better for it. But Robert would make sure that he restored the family name. Henry Lee had gone to his death with the stigma of “treason” lingering over him; his status as a hero of the Revolution forgotten.

“Father, I will join the army, but no-one will call me traitor. I will make the United States again honour a Lee who leads them to war.”


8 March 1818

Washington, District of Columbia,

United States of America

“There’s so much to do here,” Colonel Winfield Scott said, as he settled into the chair of his new office. “Organising a real army for the United States... that is a role any true soldier should welcome.” He hadn’t really wanted to return to the army, but who could refuse the request of a man like President Wilkinson? Even before his inauguration, Wilkinson had been the closest thing the United States had to a war hero – although Andrew Jackson and Thomas Pinckney came close, and, although modesty forbade him from saying it aloud, Scott himself. If the President wanted a new professional army, Scott could only agree.

“Who would have thought that being assigned to the Indian frontier was a good thing?” Scott murmured. But being assigned there after his release as a prisoner of war had brought him into contact with Wilkinson. Between them, they had crushed the various Indian tribes in the south, making sure the Indian Confederation was limited from reaching there, before Scott was reassigned to the north. His victory over the British and Continental Army in New Jersey had proven to be too little, too late to preserve that state in the Union – much like Jackson’s doomed efforts further south – but they had won him recognition.

And now this was the result. The United States needed a professional army, the President had decided, and now Scott was one of those chosen to shape the armed forces.

“Time to get to work,” he murmured.


1 April 1815

Schönhausen, Saxony

Kingdom of Prussia [4]

Ferdinand von Bismarck, former officer of the Prussian cavalry, paced back and forth inside the room. At least it was big enough to pace. That was what he needed, right now. His wife Wilhelmine laboured to bear their child, and all he could do was wait for it to happen.

Thankfully soon, the midwife emerged. “Congratulations, Herr von Bismarck. You have a son!”

Bismarck smiled. A son, just as he had expected. And he already knew the names he wanted. “Otto Eduard Leopold von Bismarck, welcome to the world,” Bismarck said, as he stepped inside to greet his newborn son. [5]


[1] Abraham Lincoln was born on 12 February 1809, after the POD (6 January 1809), but was conceived before it, and was thus safe from any potential butterflies, except perhaps from some minor ones on his exact birthday.

[2] This not the child who died in infancy in OTL. It’s another child, conceived after the POD, but the Lincolns still liked the name.

[3] Joseph Smith’s family moved out of New York in the aftermath of the War of 1811 in this TL. But most Pennsylvanians still thought of them as Yankees.

[4] Technically, Saxony had not yet been assigned to Prussia, as the Congress of Vienna had not yet finalised things. But it was clear by then that this would be the outcome, so people were by then getting used to the idea of being part of Prussia.

[5] Yes, I know Bismarck was born after the POD, but it’s not that much after. Given that Europe wasn’t affected by significant butterflies for a couple of years, I don’t think it’s impossible that someone like Bismarck might be born so soon after it. Strictly speaking, he’s an analogue rather than the same Bismarck, but he’s going to be close enough personality wise for most purposes.


Decades of Darkness #19: My Fellow New Englanders

3 March 1815

New England House of Representatives,

Hartford, Connecticut

Republic of New England

“My fellow New Englanders,

To all of you who have gathered here today to attend my final address as first President of New England, I thank you. You honour me with your attendance, and I hope that you will remain here for the inauguration of President De Witt Clinton tomorrow.

Sometimes it still amazes me, when I look outside these windows, that this fair land we possess is part of the Republic of New England. For less than five years ago, we were still firmly yoked to the United States, and it seemed that all of our opportunities were slipping into the mire of the swamplands that surrounded Washington, D.C. – and how appropriate it seemed to us that such a place had been chosen as the capital of the United States. For, while there were and are many men of good character in the United States, few of those could be found in Washington then, and even fewer today.

Let us reflect, my friends, on how far Our Lord has allowed us to come since that time! We have built much; we have made of ourselves a nation with men of stout heart can guard us in our army, in our militia, in our navy, and in our separate states against any attempt to create a new Washington here. We have built ourselves many ships to foster our commerce, our fishing, and all the other products we produce. Above all, here we have built a place where the principles of good government, of justice, of sound morality, and of religion, can be accepted. Here we have built ourselves a true republic.

Let us reflect further, on the status of the United States today. They retain the name of a republic, but not the form. All of the ideals of the founding fathers have been cast aside; the President rules nearly as a king, and his court of Congressmen are so corrupted by dwelling in Washington that they soon adopt the same principles. To become a man of power in the United States takes only money, not breeding or good character, and since money is required to attain government there, the principles and policy of those in power is concerned solely with its acquisition. They think only of the dollar; it has become their goal, their creed, and it rules them now. For just as those who want political office there must have money, even men of good character who seek office find that they must attain money in order to achieve office, and in the seeking of such money they become tainted, until maintaining their money is more important than maintaining their character, and this outlook they bring with them into office.

I charge you, my friends who are before me, to ensure that the same does not befall our beloved New Republic. Let us continue to ensure that the dollar alone is not the mark of a man’s value, but rather the strength of his character, his virtue, his religion, his breeding, and his birth as a true citizen of New England. [1] It was in defense of these principles that we separated from the United States, and while I regret that blood had to be shed to secure our separation, I am glad that it was attained.

By the same token, however, let no man think that we should pursue enmity to the United States. They are our brothers, and while we now dwell in our own house, they are still our neighbours. We still have much to do with them, and in the natural intercourse of our commerce, we shall continue to grow alongside them. We must be firm and stalwart in our defense, to ensure that no future tyrant in Washington can dare seek to force us back under their yoke; but we are and should remain friends with them. Likewise, we should maintain our friendship with Great Britain, not forgetting our differences which required our forefathers to separate during the First Revolution, and protecting our interests and our commerce where we disagree, but nonetheless standing beside them to keep our independence secure. [2]

Whither, then, does New England go from here? We shall grow in prosperity and in wealth, in friendship to the United States and to Great Britain, but separate and of ourselves. In time, our neighbouring British provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland may choose to join our New Republic. [3] We can hope that Britain will of her own consent relinquish these provinces, so that she is rid of the charge of maintaining them, while she will derive from them still, as she does from us, all the commercial returns which her merchants now receive. And in time, we may be able to add further lands to New England, as our commerce may dictate. [4]


Timeline of the United States of America and Republic of New England

- Excerpts taken from James H. Worthington’s “1800-1850: Early History of the Republic of New England”. (C) 1947: Boston University Press. Used with permission.


19 December: Vice-President Goodrich dies in office. Under the terms of the New England Constitution, the Senate names Secretary of State Harrison Otis as the replacement Vice-President. Otis continues his responsibilities as Secretary of State as well as being Vice-President.


Treaty of Halifax signed between Great Britain and New England. The treaty specifies a defensive pact where both countries will come to the assistance of the other if New England or Britain’s North American possessions are attacked by a foreign power within North America. The treaty specifies both land-based and naval cooperation in the event of war. The treaty negotiations also settle the issue of the Maine and New Hampshire borders, and grant New England fishing rights in the Grand Bank. [5] Maine is admitted as a New England state on 1 October, in time to vote in the third presidential elections.

The treaty was noteworthy for provoking considerable anger in some parts of New England where anti-British sentiment still lingered, particularly upstate New York, and in some commercial sectors.


Harrison Gray Otis (Massachusetts) inaugurated as 3rd President of New England. Samuel Whittlesey Dana (Connecticut) inaugurated as Vice-President.


[1] In the New England Constitution, it is necessary to be born there (or to have been a naturalised citizen at the time of the Republic’s formation) to be granted any government office, not just the presidency. Needless to say, this is likely to cause a problem with future immigration.

[2] Historians have often interpreted this remark to mean that Pickering recognised the future problems that New England would face, as a small neighbour to a United States which, even by his time, was growing much larger.

[3] Pickering had been advocating this as a possibility for years; since at least 1804. Here, though, he is expressing more of a wish than a realistic opportunity for New England to grow. The Loyalist populations in the maritime provinces may be friendlier to New England than to the United States (since both have departed from it), but the Federalist character of New England is hardly one they find attractive. Not to mention that Great Britain would be reluctant to let them go, to say the least.

[4] As with some of the earlier remarks in Pickering’s farewell address, this hint has been interpreted in many ways. The most common view is that Pickering saw the Indian Confederation as a short-lived entity, and that he expected New England to acquire some of its land. Others suspect that he was referring to the Canadas, or to the ‘border states’ of Pennsylvania, Delaware and Ohio.

[5] The Maine-New Brunswick border is approximately the same as that arranged in OTL (it’s actually closer to the border devised by the failed arbitration of the King of the Netherlands in OTL). The New Hampshire border is as per OTL.


Decades of Darkness #20: The Three James’s

5 March 1817

The White House,

Washington, District of Columbia

United States of America

Three men were gathered in the room, all named James. Madison, the just-departed President; Monroe, the barely-failed aspirant to that rank; and Wilkinson himself, the incumbent President.

Wilkinson knew he had a faint smile on his lips. He had followed a very long, very twisted road before he finally arrived here. Indeed, for much of his life had had not even been sure that he would remain a citizen of the United States. But now he was certain, and now he was here. The time in his life when he had declared himself a citizen of Spain and encouraged Kentucky to depart the United States now seemed a distant memory. And his more recent victories in the war had made him a hero, and led people to press him to stand for the presidency. Wilkinson had originally planned to retire to his new lands in Louisiana and live out the remainder of his days, but he had found himself called to this office.

Madison raised a glass of wine. “To the new President of the United States, and to his Vice-President.”

Wilkinson mimicked raising a glass himself as Madison drank. He noted the twinge of regret in Madison’s tone; the now-former President had never really recovered his spirits after losing the late war. The death of his wife had been a further blow. [1]

After the toast, an awkward pause lingered, until Wilkinson said, “Sir, you wished to discuss some private matters with me?” As private as they could be with Monroe in the room – Madison had also insisted on that.

Madison said, “Yes. I wish to discuss my... legacy to the United States. My advice for the future.”

Wilkinson said, “You think to offer me instructions?” He kept his voice firm.

“Instructions? Certainly not,” Madison said. “But I have had some experience in government, and wish merely to pass on my thoughts to you. Whether you take that advice, sir, is of course your prerogative.”

Wilkinson nodded. “Carry on, then.”

Madison said, “The aftermath of the late war is, naturally, the largest issue which faces our country today.” Madison sounded bitter about the war, sure enough. He no doubt wondered how history would treat him. “Out of that, naturally, arises the question as to what our relations should be with Great Britain and New England... your words in your inaugural address yesterday were clear enough. I can only add that whatever influence I have in Virginia will be used to support your plans.”

Wilkinson nodded. “We must, must be in a position of strength. Another war with them now would be a disaster, but only by standing strong can we avoid another humiliation.”

Monroe said, “And if Henry Clay is given the scope he wants with the navy--”

Wilkinson held up a hand. “My measures for the army, navy and foreign policy can be discussed later.” Without Madison around, he didn’t bother to add. “We are here to listen to Mr. Madison.”

Madison said, “Thank you, sir. I would mention other matters today. One issue will surely arise in the next meeting of Congress, or perhaps the one after: relaxing the laws on the importation of slaves.”

Wilkinson said, “You think that it will arise so soon?”

“Almost certainly,” Madison said. “Enough states contain enough supporters for it to be proposed again. The Carolinas, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, West Florida. And Missouri no doubt will support it, too. Perhaps Louisiana as well. Congress may pass such a law during your first term.”

“And you think I should veto it?” Wilkinson said, keeping iron in his voice. He had no firm view for or against the importation of slaves, but he had firm views against a former president dictating what should happen after his departure from office.

Madison said, “I think that if you plan to do so, you should make careful preparations ahead of time. Preferably before it comes to a veto.”

“And if I decide to permit it?” Wilkinson said.

Madison flinched when he heard that. “Then if you do so, sir, then you will have to consider the other matter I wish to raise: our relations with the northern states.”

“That is indeed a delicate question,” Wilkinson said. “Some of them look to New England.”

“Pennsylvania most of all,” Madison said. “And Delaware, even though departing the Union would cost them their slaves. So do some people in Ohio, although they also remember the Indian Confederation on their borders. Pennsylvania and Delaware came close to leaving us before the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified.”

“Indeed, but they didn’t,” Wilkinson said. “If they try to leave now, it’s illegal. Our army can reconquer them, at need.”

“Not if the British support New England again, which they almost certainly will, Madison said. “We could defeat New England, but not New England and Britain together.” [2]

“Not yet,” Monroe said.

Wilkinson nodded. “In time, we shall have the strength. But our army, and especially our navy, is not yet ready.”

“Given that, sir, how do you think to bring the northern states closer to us?” Madison said.

“If they would tolerate slavery – suitably benevolent slavery – that would much reduce the differences between our states,” Wilkinson said. Again, he noted Madison’s discomfiture, then added, “Do you think that would work?”

Madison took some time before he answered. Eventually, he said, “The black man is here; we cannot easily remove him to Africa. Perhaps it cannot be done it all. But until it can be done, then the Negro is better off under a kind master than to be freed, for as a freeman he will lack the property or education which will permit him to make use of his freedom.” [3]

“And if the institution of slavery cannot be ended?” Wilkinson said, out of genuine curiosity. He remained unsure on the long-term question of slave holding, but he knew that attempting to free slaves would be difficult at best.

“It shall be ended someday, surely,” Madison said. “The difficulties attending it, however, mean that the United States shall have to tread warily in doing so.”

Monroe said, “What think you, sir, of the late President Jefferson’s plans to solve the slave question by diffusing them throughout the United States?”

Madison said, “To that, there may be some merit. Perhaps the slaves could even be diffused to the northern states, for a time – if they could be persuaded to do so. For, in my own experience, for slaves to be kept working on land is the worst kind of profit, for both the master and the slaves. Better for both that they should be employed in various manufactures, I think... and there are more places to manufacture in the north. If slaves could be profitably employed in manufacture in our northern states – freeing up the white race from the most onerous duties, perhaps – then this issue might perhaps not divide us. And we could gradually free the slaves afterward.” [4]

Wilkinson raised an eyebrow. “That sentiment is not one I have heard expressed before, sir. And it may, perhaps, be one we can consider.”

Monroe said, “There may be other less controversial ways to do the same. One idea I have heard, and think worth considering, is to build a canal linking the Ohio river to Lake Ontario. Let our commerce flow through there to the Mississippi, bypassing New England.”

“And the labour for building this canal?” Wilkinson said. “Could it be made using slave labour?”

“That might antagonise people in the free-soil states,” Monroe said. “But perhaps, judiciously considered, it might be.”

Wilkinson said, “These matters, too, we shall consider at another time.” He gave Madison a brief glance. “Were there any other... thoughts you wished to convey?”

“If I may ask, what measures do you plan to take against the Indian Confederation?”

“For now, none,” Wilkinson said. “The time is not yet ripe. Most of our people have moved south. I shall, of course, ensure that the Indians in the south and west do not imagine they could follow the example of their northern brethren. We shall take whatever measures are necessary there. But for now, let the Indians in the north use the British as their bulwark. We can settle accounts with them later.”

“If you are looking south, there is the question of Spanish Florida,” Madison said.

Wilkinson said, “We shall acquire that, in time. Mr. Clay wants a naval base down there. But the state of the Treasury requires that we wait a year or two, at least.” He glanced at Madison, then decided he had spent enough time discussing matters with the former president. He stood. “Thank you for your advice, Mr. Madison.”


Excerpts taken from a letter from President De Witt Clinton to Secretary of State Harrison Otis, sent while Otis was in Halifax negotiating the treaty there.

As to the other matters discussed in our last letter, I trust your judgment in these negotiations. Only three things are vital to us: firstly, that we secure a defensive alliance with Great Britain; secondly, that we retain at least part of the St. John valley in Maine; and thirdly, that we obtain the greatest possible concession of fishing rights. On any other issues, you may negotiate as you see fit, keeping the interests of New England uppermost.

You may have heard rumours that Maine is to become a state. These rumours are true, but do not let it concern your negotiations; we still need you to secure the best possible boundary for the new state. There is also discussion of partitioning New York State into two or perhaps three states, but I will not permit such actions to happen during my presidency. There remains too much Unionist sentiment in many regions of that state. Let it remain together until all its citizens have accepted their place as New Englanders.

(Signed) De Witt Clinton, President


[1] Dolly Madison’s antislavery sentiments have been claimed by some OTL authors to have had an influence on Madison’s own views of slavery. In OTL, he favoured gradual emancipation, but believed that blacks and whites could not readily live alongside each other if freed. The changing circumstances in this TL, including the early death of his wife, have given him slightly different sentiments, although he continues to regard it as a necessary evil.

[2] The Treaty of Halifax had not yet been signed at the time of this discussion.

[3] Based on Madison’s views in OTL, but modified in line with his new sentiments.

[4] Madison expressed similar views about turning slaves to manufacturing in OTL.


Decades of Darkness #21: Glimmers of Light

12 March 1817,

The Davis Hotel,

Washington, District of Columbia,

United States of America

The men gathered at the Davis Hotel were among the best the United States had to offer, the recent ex-President Madison reflected. The new Vice-President, James Monroe, was perhaps the most distinguished – apart from himself – but some of the other members were also noteworthy. Francis Scott Key, who had written the words to the “Star Spangled Banner”, now established as the national anthem of the United States. Andrew Jackson, a rough man in many ways, but a war hero, and a willing advocate of resettling “free people of colour” to Africa. What Jackson thought of those who were still in slavery was harder to fathom, but at least his support of the colonization movement was a start. Henry Clay, Speaker of the House of Representatives, was here to preside over the first meeting of the American Colonization Society.

Henry Clay said, “Welcome, my friends. We are here to prepare the way for a message, much as Our Lord sent John the Baptist to prepare the way for His own coming. We are here to found a society to return the free people of colour back to their true homeland in Africa.”

Clay kept on speaking, but Madison let his gaze wander around the room. The principal man who had organised this meeting was watching Clay intently: Reverend Finley, until recently a citizen of New Jersey, but he had fled that state for Pennsylvania after the end of the late war; had been loud in his suggestions for a colonization movement, but Madison suspected that Finley wanted it as a method for freeing all the slaves. That, assuredly, was something few of the men in this room would countenance.

Sure enough, Clay continued his speech: “I stand before you gentlemen, as a slaveowner without chagrin. This society we are forming is not to discuss the ownership of slaves. Rather, we are here to discuss what shall be done with that, which of all classes of our population is the most vicious: that of the free coloured.”

Madison noticed that Finley looked unhappy at that proclamation, although he hid it well. Finley had obviously learned the importance of compromise to achieve at least some of your objectives. That was a lesson which Madison which he had learned earlier himself – it would have made his political career far more successful.

Madison returned his attention to Clay’s speech.


31 January 1820,

New York City, New York,

Republic of New England

“Strange to see how the Americans are still willing to work with us on some matters,” Reverend Samuel Bacon murmured to himself, as the ship Elizabeth made its way slowly out of New York harbour. He half-listened to the list of supplies being inventoried beside him: wagons, wheelbarrows, plows, muskets, cannon, even a small barge. He gave more notice to the crowds who cheered the ship’s departure.

He had never expected that anything like this might happen, after all the unpleasantness of the late war. The American Colonization Society had seemed to be much more of a Unionist enterprise than a New England one, despite the active support of some influential people in the New Republic. The lingering distrust between the two nations had been hard to overcome, despite the new American president’s oft-expressed desire for reconciliation. Things only changed when President Otis took office in Hartford, and allowed something of a rapprochement with the United States. This ship sailing out of New York harbour, with a crew of settlers mostly from the United States, and escorted by an American sloop of war – itself an unimaginable sight in New York as recently as a year ago – was proof that relations were thawing.

The Treaty of Halifax had certainly seemed to be a blow to friendship, but now things were changing. Strange that the U.S. President Wilkinson was building up a strong army and navy, if he wanted peace, but then he also claimed that the best way to prevent a war was to be ready to fight one.

Bacon shook his head. The concerns of North America should be beyond him, now. There would be a long voyage to Africa, Bacon knew, as the sight of New York faded into the distance behind them. What could be done with the people here? He wanted to help them as best he could. That might be difficult, though. Most of the ninety-two passengers were former Americans, but some were New Englanders. To Bacon’s ever-growing disgust, New England was gradually turning hostile to blacks – perhaps even worse, in some ways, than the United States. And they were, truly, sailing into an unknown land.

“What will Africa hold for me?” he asked the empty sea air, but his only answer was the call of gulls.


21 January 1822,

The Davis Hotel,

Washington, District of Columbia,

United States of America

Madison stared at the gaunt, sickly figure of Reverend Bacon. This man had looked so hale and healthy when he set out for Africa less than two years ago. But that continent had exacted a bitter toll from him. Bacon moved slowly, as if every gesture was an effort. Perhaps it was. The fevers and other ailments of Africa had proven even more taxing than Madison would have believed.

“Is the situation as severe as that?” Madison asked. The new settlement in Africa had held such promise, but a series of letters from Bacon had been far from reassuring. And now the clergyman had come here in person, proof of how dire the situation was.

“We cannot build a place for the blacks there,” Bacon said. He paused to cough, and he sounded as if his lungs were being ripped open. “We thought they would be safe from diseases, but they are as vulnerable to them as men of the Anglo-Saxon race. Three-quarters of the colonists have died.”

Madison believed Bacon, in a way he would never have done before seeing this wreck of a man. Everyone had thought that the Africans would be protected against the illness of the tropics. But Bacon was proof that this was not so. “What do you want to do, then?”

“Move somewhere else in Africa,” Bacon said. “It’s the only way. Somewhere that we know has fewer sicknesses. Somewhere... further south. On the other side of the equator.”

Madison said, “You sound as if you have a place in mind.”

Bacon nodded, slowly. “The Portuguese lands in Angola. Somewhere along the coast. We could probably buy land off them cheaply.”

Madison raised an eyebrow. “Send freed slaves next door to a country which is still shipping slaves to Brazil – and an example which some of our own people want to reinstate?”

Bacon said, “They have no shortage of potential slaves in their own lands. They would have no need to threaten people protected by the United States. They should be willing to grant us land there, or even further south if need be.”

Madison said, “Something like that would need President Wilkinson’s support, at the very least. That might be difficult to arrange.”

Bacon shrugged. “Name the capital of the new nation as Wilkinston. That should appeal to him. And if we need further support, speak to the British. They still have quarrels with the United States, but they would still support a move like this, if it looks like limiting slavery here. They are pressuring the Portuguese very heavily to stop it, anyway.”

Madison nodded. “I understand that. I will do... what I can.”


Extracts from “The Rise and Fall of The Liberian Republic: Struggle, Sorrow, Triumph, Growth and Tragedy”

By Sergey Tolstoy,

Translated by Richard H. Morris,

St. Petersburg,

Russian Federation,

(c) 1974 Red Truth Publishing Company, St. Petersburg. Used with permission.

...The new land along the Angolan coast was inhospitable in many ways, but at least it was survivable. Compared to the old lands near Sierra Leone, it was a paradise. And here, the hundred-odd colonists founded Wilkinston, soon to become capital of Liberia, which would become the oldest republic in Africa, apart from Carthage...

Those who escaped to Liberia, in the initial trickle after the founding of the colony, and the great flood of refugees who arrived after the passing of the Expulsion Act of 1854, were the lucky ones. Despite the high mortality rate on the crossing, and the high death rates even in the relatively mild environment of southwestern Africa, and the myriad challenges of building a new nation from scratch, at least these emigrants had escaped. Others who remained bound within the United States, or who were sucked into the maelstrom of horror as it expanded, would not have that option...


Decades of Darkness #22: A Matter Of Trade

14 December 1822,

Washington, District of Columbia,

United States of America

“Thank you, sir, for your time,” John Rhea said, as he escorted the Virginian Senator toward the door. The meeting had been unsuccessful, as he had feared it would be. James Pleasants remained opposed to the reopening of the slave trade, as were virtually all the representatives from every northern and eastern state. A few voices still spoke out for its readmission in South Carolina and Georgia, but those voices had grown quieter over the last decade. The slaveowners there made too much profit selling their own slaves to the growing states in the west to want any competition from cheap imported slaves. And while some representatives from West Florida, Missouri, Mississippi and Missouri – and even Louisiana and Alabama – spoke out in favour of legalising the slave trade, they were not enough. Rhea thought there might still be a majority in West Florida and Missouri, and perhaps even Mississippi, but those three states alone would never be enough.

“Where did it all go wrong?” Rhea asked himself. As recently as four or five years ago, he had been certain he would garner enough support for the motion. There had been encouraging noises from enough representatives, and people still remember when the slave trade was legal, only a few years before that. But those noises had never been translated into action. And gradually, the slaveowners had seen the value in keeping fresh slaves out.

Rhea thought he should have been happier than he was. As one of the senior Senators – he had represented his state of West Florida since its admission in 1811 – he had had a successful political career. And for the rest of the time, his plantation down in West Florida was, by any measure, a successful venture. But it would be far more successful if he could obtain fresh labour at a cheap cost.

“It’s not as if I’m bringing fresh people into bondage,” Rhea muttered. He sought only to import slaves from Cuba and Brazil, not from Africa itself. These were people already held in bondage, and he was certain that they would be treated far better under his ownership than slaves in Cuba or, especially, Brazil. There had been strengthened ties between both of those lands and the United States over the last few years, and some of the stories from down south made him uneasy. The Brazilian planters were reported to be happy to work their slaves almost to death, content in the knowledge that they could always obtain more from Africa easily enough. Their slaves would be far better treated if they were shipped to the United States instead.

His valet appeared at the door. “Sir, Speaker Henry Clay is at the door and asks if you will see him.”

Rhea felt for a moment as if had stepped back in time more than a decade, to when he had first come to Washington, D.C., and Clay had helped him then. Both of them had improved their status since then – Clay was now perhaps the most influential man in the Legislature, and some said he had more control over affairs than President Wilkinson, while Rhea had built his own political career considerably – but they had hardly been in close contact since. Clay had made it abundantly clear that he opposed the renewal of the slave trade.

Sure enough, after Clay was escorted in, and after the usual polite formalities, Clay said, “Yes, I would like to discuss this matter of the slave trade with you.”

Rhea said, “You want me to stop pressing for it, you mean.”

Clay nodded. “You do your own cause no good. It will never be reopened in its current state. Indeed, by making it such an issue you harden opposition to it.”

“Perhaps, but you could merely be saying that because you oppose it yourself,” Rhea said.

“My main concern with slavery is with the free people of colour, not with those who are still owned,” Clay said. “I think that it would be best for both us and them if such people were returned to Africa, as our Liberian experiment is seeking to undertake. But above all, I do not want our nation divided.”

“Our nation is already divided,” Rhea said. “Between those northern states who would limit slavery to its current position, and the southern states who would expand it to the current borders of the United States.”

“Those are the two extremes of the position,” Clay said. “Many more views fall somewhere in between those. As does my own. But that is not the point I wished to make. You are aware, sir, of the current constitutional amendment being mooted?”

“That which will make slavery legal in all the territories of the United States?” Rhea nodded. “But there are many forms of that amendment being discussed; I am not familiar with all the details.” [1]

“The details do not, as yet, matter,” Clay said. “But the broad strokes do. According to the most likely form, all of our Territories will permit the ownership of slaves, with the question of further ownership to be established by a state’s legislature once it is admitted.”

Rhea nodded. “That sounds like a reasonable compromise, to me.” He didn’t bother mentioning, since Clay was surely already aware of it, that a state would find it difficult to make slavery illegal if slaves were already being held there.

“Indeed. But some of our more fervent representatives want to make slavery legal in every new state, and add rights of transit which would make it effectively legal to hold slaves even in the free-soil states.”

“The federal government has no such power,” Rhea said. Such an extreme proposal made him uneasy.

“Then would you be willing to use your influence to see that a more moderate form of the amendment is adopted?” Clay asked.

Rhea said, “I might. But how does this fit into the other matter we were discussing?”

“Because I think you would have more success if you let that matter rest, for now. It will not be adopted, especially since this recent slave revolt in Charleston. That was started by an African-born former slave. [2] If you really wish, you could raise it again at a future time when it may, perhaps, succeed.” Clay’s tone made it clear that he thought that unlikely. “But your influence would no doubt grow without it. Perhaps to the governorship of your home state, for example.”

That was an interesting point. Rhea had considered the governorship of West Florida before, but never so urgently. Clay certainly knew how to make a man think. And, Rhea was sure, Clay was looking for other matters here. He wanted to build his own influence even further. Already, the leading figures within the Democratic-Republican party were manoeuvring for the upcoming Presidential election. In the last, Wilkinson had run virtually unopposed – only a token two electors had voted against him – but the next would be a much broader contest.

Clay, for instance, had already been touted as a future presidential candidate. But then, there would be no shortage of them. All would be from the Democratic-Republican Party, of course. The two-party system, such as it was, had been broken. Tainted with the stigma of treason, the Federalist party had nearly vanished completely – although it still lingered in Delaware and South Carolina. All the important representatives belong to the same party, including Rhea himself.

That one party, however, still had active debates within it. Rhea suspected there would be a very bitter struggle soon, when the time came to choose the next president. Monroe would want a chance after waiting in Wilkinson’s shadow for so many years. So would Clay, of course. And perhaps others. Calhoun, maybe, or William Crawford. Perhaps even Andrew Jackson, whose recent campaigns against the Indians had returned him to the limelight he had held during the aftermath of the late war.

Clay said, “If it helps, you could note that the government has taken little action against smuggling of slaves. I know some have been brought in, and not much has been done against them. But that is while they are only a trickle. If more come in, that would be a different matter.”

Rhea nodded. It would be a very unusual jury who would convict someone accused of smuggling slaves. But no-one wanted to make it legal. The Virginian planters, especially, wanted to keep slave prices high, the border states wanted no slaves at all, and President Wilkinson did not care enough to do anything about it. “Let it rest, then,” he said. For now, anyway. He still hoped he could bring the issue back, at a more favourable time.

Clay said, “Excellent. Let us see what we can achieve in other matters, then.”


[1] Absent the issue of a Missouri crisis, this issue took longer to become important than it did in OTL.

[2] A reference to an alt-Denmark Vesey revolt. This was slightly more successful than in OTL, and increased the U.S. unease about having freed slaves kept around. The responses to the revolt, however, vary considerably. Some are using it to press for gradual emancipation, but more are arguing that slaves need to be kept as slaves forever, since it was a freed slave who organised the revolt.


Decades of Darkness #23a: Monarchs and Slavers

4 January 1824,

NES Argus,

Atlantic Ocean

Commander Matthew Calbraith Perry kept his gaze on the suspected slave ship as he brought his own ship alongside. The boarding party of marines – mostly Yankee, but with a few British observers – were ready to enter the boat.

Perry gave no further instructions to the Marine’s officer; he already knew his business. He did spare a moment to give his British colleague, Commander Albright, a wry glance. “Care to take a wager that the ship’s captain will only speak Spanish?”

Albright grinned. “Not much point claiming to be French these days, is there?” He had an infectious sense of humour; Perry had found himself getting along well with the other commander since he had come aboard at Halifax.

“It took King Louis long enough to outlaw the slave trade,” Perry said. Since he was speaking to an Englander, he kept to himself his opinions about the bargain which had led to the French finally condemning slavery. The British Foreign Secretary Castlereagh [1] had negotiated that permission with France, in exchange for the French banning slave trading. Independent republics in the Americas could face counter-revolutionary intervention from Europe. President Dana should have done more to persuade the British against it. Stopping the slave trade was important – Perry agreed with that, which was why he was here – but the cause of liberty was hardly served by allowing European monarchs back into the New World.

Albright gave Perry a long stare. “You worry too much about France,” he said. “And about what she might do here.”

Perry felt himself flush slightly; he was not used to being so easy to read. “I’m not sure I follow.”

Albright waved a dismissive hand. “Let the French throw away men and treasure in the former Spanish colonies. They won’t succeed.”

Perry said, “That, I definitely don’t understand.”

Albright said, “It’ll only take a couple of defeats for King Louis to ask himself why he’s shedding French blood to restore a Spanish king. Let the French weaken themselves trying to reconquer Argentina or Mexico if they like.”

“You want them to look away from Europe,” Perry said. This diatribe was most unlike the usually genial Englishman. “Much as some of our people have quietly chastised President Dana for granting recognition to the Greeks, since that takes us away from North America.”

“I want the French weak,” Albright said. “So should you, since they look to the United States more than to us.”

Perry felt like spitting over the side. If the United States bothered to enforce their own laws, he wouldn’t have needed to be patrolling the Atlantic. The importation of slaves was still illegal in the United States, but many of the slaves who were still shipped, more or less legally, into Cuba ended up in West Florida and South Carolina. “I take the point,” he said, in lieu of arguing. They still had the rest of the voyage awaiting them; no need to antagonise each other.

Albright glanced over to the other ship. Following his gaze, Perry saw that the marines had gone on board.

Perry said, “How do you think that conversation will go? ‘I am bringing these slaves into Cuba. We are allowed to do this.’ Never mind about how a ship bound for Cuba is sailing for the South Carolina coast.”

Albright laughed. “Thankfully, that isn’t our worry. Once we’ve seized the slaves, someone else can worry about offering compensation, just in case that captain turns out to be telling the truth.”

Someone British, Albright meant. Perry understood that. Although New England assisted with antislavery patrols, it remained primarily a Royal Navy operation, and any compensation for seized slaves was a British expense. “Let’s go see if we’re right about the captain,” Perry said, striding across the deck.


Excerpts taken from “Revolutions and Counter-Revolutions: Examples of the March of History”

(c) 1946 by Vladimir Trotsky,

Imperial Press,

Berlin: German Empire

The European interventions in the New World – mostly French and Spanish, since the Prussians quickly lost interest and the Russians and Austrians sent only token forces – became classic examples of how not to conduct a counter-revolution.

Firstly, they could only operate there with the tacit consent of the Royal Navy, and from the very beginning, informed observers believed that the British had only permitted the intervention so that they could interrupt it later and be seen as liberators and friends of the Latin American peoples. With, naturally, the expectation of commercial rights which were, then as always, the only thing the British truly cared about. Napoleon I had long ago observed, accurately, that the English were a nation of shopkeepers.

Secondly, the cost of shipping troops across the Atlantic, and of conducting extensive military operations against people who most emphatically did not want to be ruled from Europe, quickly mounted, for no realistic gain. It was one thing for the French to march into Mexico City and Buenos Aires, it was quite another to hold them.

Thirdly, there were was the United States to consider. Many historians argue that the incursions would never have taken place originally if President Wilkinson had been in firm health, and been ready to protect them. Certainly, the example of the support he gave to Brazil showed that the United States was capable of projecting power even in those days, if she chose to do so, and similar actions elsewhere would probably have assured the same.

These considerations should have been obvious to anyone who considered the march of history, but they were not. It was left to the British to announce a stop to the intervention – with New Englander backing that no-one in Europe cared about, at the time – and thus to gain the apparent advantage of being seen as friends. And, in time, as bankers. And traders.

But the interventions, although short-lived, did have considerable impact on the march of history. The renewed British influence in South and Central America might have seemed helpful to them in the short-term, but it ensured United States anger, which was a folly that should have been visible even in the 1820s. And it created a precedent for intervention in the affairs of these nations, which the United States in turn would be glad to follow...


[1] In TTL, Castlereagh has not committed suicide, and remains as Foreign Secretary for a few more years yet.


Decades of Darkness #23b: Historians and Dreamers

Selected Important Dates in North American History: 1820-1825

Taken from “The Compleat Textbook Series: Early American History”

By J. Edward Fowler (Principal Author)

Sydney, Kingdom of Australia.

(c) 1948 Eagle Publishing Company: Sydney. Used with permission


First American settlers (400 families) arrive in Texas. [1]


First public high school opened in Boston, Massachusetts, New England.

New York abandons property qualifications for voting; similar motions have been defeated earlier in Connecticut and Massachusetts.


Sporadic Indian raids begin into Ohio, Indiana, and other parts of the U.S. Northwest. U.S. President’s Wilkinson’s protests to Britain led to curtailing but not cession of these raids.

After protracted negotiations, the United States is granted Spanish Florida in exchange for nullification of Spanish debts. General Andrew Jackson is named military governor, and commences operations against the Semnioles and other tribes within the new East Florida Territory.

Failed slave revolt in Charleston, South Carolina. Denmark Vesey and several of his co-conspirators are hung. This leads to calls for harsher treatment of free blacks, who are held to inspire slaves to rebel. Plans are made for more freed slaves to be shipped to the colonies which later became Liberia, while others call for re-enslavement.


Samuel Whittlesey Dana (Connecticut) inaugurated as 4th President of New England. Nathan Sanford (New York) inaugurated as Vice-President; the first non-Federalist to hold that office.


U.S. President Wilkinson dies in office (12 March). James Monroe becomes the 6th President of the United States.

The U.S. election of 1824 is the most heavily contested since Madison was re-elected in 1812. All serious candidates are members of the Democratic-Republican party. Incumbent President Monroe seeks re-election, but Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay, William H. Crawford and John C. Calhoun are also candidates.

N.E. President Dana issues a protest over French invasions of Mexico and Argentina; the protests are ignored.


The previous year’s election having produced no candidate with a clear majority; the U.S. Presidential election is sent to the House of Representatives. Andrew Jackson received the greatest number of electoral votes, but John C. Calhoun is elected the 7th President of the United States. James Monroe is returned as Vice-President.

President Calhoun declares that the ongoing French intervention in the New World is ‘contrary to American interests’. The British issue similar declarations, backed up by New England. This leads to the beginning of the Anglo-American rivalry for influence in Latin America. Initially, the British have much greater influence, except in Brazil and Cuba.

Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis appointed to Wilkinson Military Academy, Virginia. [2]

Ratification of Eighteenth Amendment, to go into force the following year. The Amendment makes slavery legal in all Territories of the United States, and includes rights of transit provisions for slaves being transported through free-soil states, but confirms the rights of individual states to legislate against slaves becoming permanent residents.

United States Navy establishes a naval base at Ballington, East Florida Territory [Miami].


Extracts from “Slaves, Serfs and Peons: Indenture in the Industrial Age”

By Michelle Davies

Hobson University

Eden [3], Kingdom of Australia.

(c) 1947 Eagle Publishing Company: Eden. Used with permission

The United States during the 1820s appeared increasingly schizophrenic toward the issue of chattel slavery. In the Northern states (Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Delaware), opinions were commonly expressed that slavery was an evil which should, in time, be abolished. (Hard though this is to believe today!) Indeed, in the Upper North, principally Pennsylvania, there were even some calls for forcible abolition, with appropriate compensation for slaveowners. This brief flowering of liberty produced the Liberian settlement, which trickled on until the great flood of free blacks who fled the United States during the late 1840s and 1850s. Those fortunate few were able to plant the seed of liberty on harsh soil, but which would in time grow a valuable crop. For those who were left behind, and the other peoples of the New World, the seeds which were planted there would yield a much more bitter harvest.

For not all of the voices in the United States called for the limitation of slavery. Many others called for its expansion. Some of these advocates were also in the Northern states – the nearly incomprehensible adherents of the diffusion theory being the most notable examples – but most were in the Southern states. Here, the schizophrenic nature of the United States become increasingly apparent during the 1820s. These states included many people who started to describe slavery as the proper way to run a society. They were pushed on by their own views on race, that of a struggle between races, which anticipated the later view of Matthism. [4] Mostly, however, the motivation was economic. It was, not coincidentally, in the then-frontier states such as West Florida, Louisiana and Missouri – states that were filling up fast as the United States expanded away from British influence, and also the states where plantation slavery was most profitable – that the loudest voices were raised for the maintenance and extension of slavery. Indeed, in some of these frontier states there were renewed calls for the legalisation of the slave trade. Most of these voices fell silent once the slaveowners realised how much more profit their own slaves brought once importation was illegal, but not all, by any means. In West Florida and Missouri, the calls for re-opening were the loudest. For now, however, they mostly went unheeded. The increasingly schizophrenic U.S. attitude toward slavery continued to simmer throughout the later 1820s, and indeed afterward, but after the election of President Calhoun, the questions became harder to answer as the internal dispute became linked to foreign affairs, with slavery becoming an increasingly vexatious issue between relations with Great Britain and New England...


[1] This settlement is both earlier and more numerous than the first settlers who entered Texas in OTL, due to the axis of settlement being much more southwest than west in TTL.

[2] This is the replacement for West Point, which is now a New England military academy. It was not named Wilkinson Military Academy until after the President’s death.

[3] OTL Auckland, New Zealand.

[4] Similar, but more racist, equivalent to OTL Social Darwinism.


Decades of Darkness #24: On The Road to War

Extracts from “The Seventh President: A Calhoun of Contradictions”

By Malcolm Davis III [1]

Baton Rogue, West Florida

United States of America

(c) 1949 Conrad Publishing Company: Baton Rogue. Used with permission.

The presidency of John C. Calhoun embodies the confused spirit of the late 1820s. The nation was confused in its direction, riven by internal disputes between the states, over the nature of central authority, of questions of property ownership, and of political struggle. This was the era of the breakup of the Republican Party, which had dominated U.S. politics for a generation, but which could not survive its own internal struggles. Indeed, the rise of Jackson’s political fortunes turned the last two years of Calhoun’s presidency into a lame-duck session.

Calhoun’s initial election was more by luck than by any particular genius of his own. Monroe disliked him, by all reports, but preferred to have a South Carolinian than a Westerner in the White House. Quite what Henry Clay thought of Calhoun was hard to fathom – as, indeed, it was hard to fathom what Clay thought of anyone or anything – but on one thing they agreed: American honour needed to be restored. Clay evidently preferred to have a fellow War Hawk in power than the uncertainties of an uncouth barbarian from the frontier.

Calhoun’s internal political often seemed contradictory. He was a staunch advocate of the need for internal improvements, yet he often opposed their construction. He supported the necessity for internal trade improvements, and the need for a central bank, yet he often suppressed measures that would have paid for them. For Calhoun was above all a South Carolinian first, and while he stood up for the United States on issues that would also strengthen Carolina, he would often support South Carolina first. Thus, he usually denied the establishment of protective tariffs that would support local industry, since such measures inevitably depressed cotton prices. The northern states were even then beginning to turn toward manufacture, but cotton was still king in South Carolina.

On the issue of property ownership, however, Calhoun was clearly a man ahead of his time. He saw slavery not only as necessary but as right and proper. Thus he welcomed the passage of the Eighteenth Amendment, which he had steered through the South Carolina Legislature as the first state to ratify it. At this time, many people in Virginia still thought that slavery was incompatible with republicanism – odd though that seems in comparison to today’s Virginia – and of course, the border states all opposed slavery. Calhoun’s emphatic support for the extension of slavery was one factor which led to the coalition of interests against him, since the northern states now looked, improbably, to Andrew Jackson as their saviour.

On the issue of expansionism, Calhoun was also a man ahead of his time. Although he did not use the phrase himself, his comments about the United States’ fitness for growth would have fitted in well even to-day. But Calhoun, alas, had little true opportunity for expansionism. For while the flood of population had been west and south, most of the people of the United States still kept their heads turned north. Their concerns were with the Indian Confederation, New England, but above all with the British Empire. Conquest of them was not usually the goal: enthusiasm for that had diminished considerably after the War of 1811. But the restoration of American honour was their primary goal. They viewed Britain as the implacable enemy, the New Englanders as their tame hounds. The relatively difficult-to-acquire lands of the north were still their main focus, despite the clear signs even in those times that there was land for the taking in the southwest. It should have been clear that the American race could sweep aside the savages and the other lesser races who had claimed those territories, but for the most part they did not recognise it. Even in the great state of Georgia, which had led the way in forcing the Indians to make way for a greater race – the Creeks were gone before Calhoun’s term expired, and the Cherokee had started their flight – more people thought about the British than anyone else. Even the prominent Georgian Senator John Macpherson Berrien, a noted War Tortoise, remarked in 1827 that, “America can never stand before the world if she crouches before the British”. [2]

Calhoun did, however, did have one notable accomplishment: the admission of a new state. During the Wilkinson presidency, calls to form new states had been resisted, on the grounds that there were too few people in them. Calhoun, however, detached the more northerly parts of Arkansaw Territory – the most heavily populated ones, since they were settled from rapidly-expanding Missouri – into the new State of Washington. He stated that the choice of that name was to honour America’s greatest hero, but he no doubt also hoped to set a precedent for naming states after past presidents, and thus that in time his own name would be similarly honoured.


Excerpt from “The New Oxford Historical Dictionary”

(c) 1949 New Oxford University,

Liverpool, [2] Kingdom of Australia

Used with permission.

“War Tortoise”: A term used mostly by their opponents for those members of the United States government who advocated the continued slow build-up of the U.S. armed forces, as had been established by Presidents Madison and Wilkinson, and which became a major subject of dispute during the Calhoun and Jackson eras. The phrase originated in a speech by New Englander President Sanford during his Reconciliation Speech, where Sanford argued for closer ties with the United States, that “our nations be bound together in commerce and in peace”. The context of the phrase was: “It is our hope that the United States and New England can stand beside each other as friends. For our part, New England stands ready to welcome them. But, just as before the war the United States had its “War Hawks” who urged their nation into a quick war, so now they have their “War Tortoises” who urge their nation slowly into war. It is our hope that these War Tortoises will be so slow that they stop.”


Extracts from “United States Foreign Policy 1789-1833: The Northern Obsession”

(c) 1947 William S. Richards

University of New England,

Hartford, Connecticut, New England.

University of New England Press.

Used with permission.

Chapter 8: Return to Hatred

The election of John C. Calhoun as 7th President of the United States brought an abrupt end to the thaw in Anglo-American relations that had started under the Wilkinson presidency and which sputtered on during Monroe’s brief tenure in that office. Not only was Calhoun himself obsessed with the restoration of American “honour” – so much so that he might be called the first American samurai – but he received a Congress with many militant members. Calhoun himself was firmly anti-British, and the expansion of the army and navy continued even further under Calhoun than it had under Wilkinson.

More fundamentally, however, too many issues remained unresolved for the United States to stand alongside Britain, or even New England. In their hearts, most Americans had still not accepted that New England deserved to be a sovereign nation. Although friendship with New England continued somewhat longer than with Britain, since the first Republican President, Nathan Sanford, advocated reconciliation with the United States, but even that came to an end with Sanford’s departure from office in 1831.

But, although the United States disliked New England, they were unlikely to start a war without a causus belli. No New England President allowed them to have such a cause, and thus, war was always most likely to begin with the British Empire. For the British most certainly did have the willingness to undertake a war, since there were issues they deemed worth fighting for. And with Calhoun in the White House, the relationship with Britain quickly deteriorated.

Many factors contributed to this deterioration. First, as always, was the American desire for revenge. They had never forgotten the Second American Revolution, or the British support which assured its success. But there were other factors present, too. The intermittent Indian raids into Indiana, Illinois and Ohio, which Tecumseh was unwilling or unable to stop, were a significant source of friction. The British were blamed for creating the Confederation originally, and for their continued support for it, particularly their sales of muskets and gunpowder at nominal prices. Worse, the Americans were angered by the influx of New Englanders and pre-Canadians into the lands of the Confederation, which the United States still then thought of as “their” lands, which were only temporarily occupied by Indians. In foreign policy, whatever reconciliation sentiments which Calhoun may have had were cast aside by struggle for influence throughout Latin America, which seemed to be much more pro-British, except for Brazil. The ongoing dispute over the northern border also caused considerable ire, despite the relatively small areas of land under dispute.

One issue, however, was far more dominant than all these considerations: slavery. The United States remained almost completely committed to chattel slavery. Only four states held it to be illegal, and even in two of those states, Indiana and Illinois, the downstate areas settled from Virginia and Kentucky looked favourably on slavery. And despite the plans of some of the northern states to abolish slavery “in time”, few of their residents looked favourably on the British pressure for total abolition. Indeed, the ongoing British insistence on abolition made it more difficult for anyone inside the United States to espouse similar views without being condemned as a British sympathiser. Worse, the British adopted the well-intentioned but misguided policy of seizing any suspected slave-carrying ships. This included a large proportion of U.S.-flag ships carrying slaves to Brazil and Cuba. From the British perspective, the U.S. government was guilty of allowing its citizens to carry out illegal activities, particularly the smuggling of slaves into the mainland United States, which was still unlawful at that time. From the American perspective, the British were violating their sovereignty and freedom of commerce by seizing slaving ships carrying out the still-legal slave trade to Brazil and Cuba, despite the compensation offered.

The ongoing acrimony between these nations grew steadily worse throughout the 1820s, thanks to all of these issues. The British Government expressed several protests against the United States’ tendency to turn a blind eye to smuggling slaves into its own territory. The government rarely tried to enforce the Anti-Slave Importation Act – since the level of smuggling was too low to have much impact on slave prices – and even when Monroe made some brief efforts to enforce the act, juries usually refused to convict anyone accused of smuggling slaves. The U.S. Government expressed its own protests over the handful of fugitive slaves who escaped into the Canadas and New England. While these cases were relatively few, they were well-publicised and raised considerable anger within the United States. The firm British refusal to do anything about them was understandable, given the staunchly anti-slavery stance of their own electorate, but it strained the already poor relations with the United States. Relations with New England were marginally better – President Sanford did agree to provide compensation to slaveowners, despite refusing to return any slaves – but by the time of the 1828 presidential elections, war-lust was high. And when the intensely militaristic and expansionistic Andrew Jackson was elected President, it seemed that the United States was only waiting for an excuse to declare war...


[1] Readers are warned that Malcolm Davis III, like his famous grandfather, had a tendency to prefer controversy to veracity.

[2] OTL Melbourne, Australia


Decades of Darkness #25: Days of Infamy

22 March 1833

Prophet’s Town, [near junction of Wabash and Tippecanoe rivers, Indiana]

Indian Confederation

Maywathekeha [1] had seen many harsh winters throughout his life. The hunting life of the Shawnee was what he preferred, despite the preferences of more and more of his compatriots who had taken up the lifestyle of the pale-faced Canadians and New Englanders who dwelt within the Indian Confederation lands. Some of them had been particularly bad, such as the one sixteen winters ago, which had seen snow fall in what should have been the height of summer. [2] Compared to that, the winter just past had been mild. But still, he thought it would be recognised as the bitterest winter of all.

Tecumseh lay dying, confined to his sickbed.

Tecumseh, Great Chief of the Indian Confederation, whose leadership had won the Shawnee protection from the hated Americans, was about to depart this world and join the spirits.

Maywathekeha had looked upon Tecumseh’s haggard face, and been sorely troubled. The Great Chief would not live to see summer. He was sure of that.

He heard faint movement behind him. Without turning around, he knew that this was his wife, Nenexsa, who had been at his side for too long. Now, she too watched Tecumseh die. The paleface doctors had been kept away – Tecumseh had little trust in those butchers.

“How is he?”

Nenexsa said, “He is preparing his final words. We will hear them soon.”

Maywathekeha nodded. Of themselves, his eyes turned to the southeast. A direction he had gone many times over the years, in raids into the American lands. And one where the American warriors had come from in their own raids several times, during the troubling years of the Great War, and more recently since the Great White Father Jackson ruled the Americans.

“They will be coming for us, won’t they?” Nenexsa said.

“And we for them,” Maywathekeha said. The Americans, like all palefaces, made poor warriors. Their muskets were fine weapons, but no American knew how to follow a trail, or lay an ambush. “But there are so many of them.”

“The other palefaces will help us,” Nenexsa said.

“I hope so,” Maywathekeha said. But the Canadians and New Englanders fought for their own reasons, not those of the Shawnee. If they chose, they could also seize the lands of the Indian Confederation. They had already moved into them in large numbers; their settlers grew more numerous each year. Raids on those palefaces had been few – Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa had ensured that – but that could change, too.

Wordlessly, Nenexsa reached out to clutch his hand. Maywathekeha squeezed it, finding some comfort there for a moment. If only it would last for longer.


25 April 1833

The White House

Washington, District of Columbia,

United States of America

Jackson signed the last of the orders with a flourish, then put his pen down.

John Eaton, Secretary of War, collected the orders, and smiled. “It’s past time we did this, sir.”

Jackson nodded. “We’ve waited too long. Let the British and their New England geldings feel the strength of American arms.”

Secretary of State Henry Clay coughed. After Jackson nodded, Clay said, “Sir, I agree that the British need to be taught a lesson – their demands on our internal affairs are unconscionable – but is this the right way to achieve it?”

Jackson said, “We’ve heard your view before, Mr Clay. The army marches now. The navy sets sail.”

Clay said, “Congress has not yet made a declaration of war.”

Jackson said, “They meet in camera now. I expect a declaration will be forthcoming.” It certainly should be, with majorities of both houses for his Democratic Party. Even some of the Patriots should back it. “Even if they refuse it, we can always recall the soldiers. A messenger travels faster than an army.”

“A surprise attack is dangerous,” Clay insisted. “It will make them more determined to fight on and on. We want a victory over the British to secure our northern frontier and to regain the lands of the Indian Confederation, not a war which drags on for years.”

Jackson drummed his fingers on his desk. Clay did raise a valid point. At least he had abandoned his old line about how such an attack would needlessly bring many enemies into the war. The British and New Englanders would both fight anyway. The Treaty of Halifax had ensured that, and their willingness to undertake continued action against American maritime commerce [3] proved it.

After some thought, Jackson said, “The danger is small. Our armies and navy will not attack before the appointed day. And our minister to Britain will deliver the declaration of war the day before, simultaneously with our minister to New England. One day’s notice will be sufficient.”

Eaton said, “Our ministers will cry havoc, and then we let slip the dogs of war.”


9 May 1833

Outside New York Harbour,

New York City,

Republic of New England

Commodore Lewis Warrington held up the blackberry wine in a toast. “To the United States Navy, and to victory!” His fellow officers followed the toast. Some of them were normally teetotal, but none of them could refuse a toast like that. Not with the smoke still rising from New York Harbour, or with the six captured vessels that were accompanying the U.S. naval squadron back to American waters. The attack had been a brilliant success; with the New Englanders caught completely by surprise. The forts would have made a raid like this one suicidal if they had been fully-manned. But they hadn’t been. The war was only a day old, but the United States had already gained an important victory.


10 May 1833

Prophet’s Town,

Indian Confederation,

U.S. Occupied

First Lieutenant Jefferson Davis spat into the flames rising from the wooden building. It did nothing to dampen the flames. “Good riddance to the savages,” he muttered. Only a few of the Indians remained in the town, all of them U.S. captives. A few others had died. Most had fled; the Indians were too good at hiding in the wilderness. But they would be tracked down soon enough. The U.S. Army had re-entered the Indian Confederation. And this time, they would avenge the defeats of a generation ago. The militia and volunteers would be gathering within the United States, and soon they would come here.

“The United States will triumph,” Davis announced.


[1] A historical figure, if a relatively minor one, born around 1780.

[2] The winter of 1816-1817, which was notoriously cold and had snow falling in June in North America. It was caused by the eruption of Mt Tambora.

[3] i.e. slave-trading.


Decades of Darkness #26: The Stars and Strikes

9 May 1833

Number Ten Downing Street

London, England

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland

Robert Peel, Prime Minister of Great Britain and Ireland, and First Lord of the Treasury, felt badly strained. The meeting which his private secretary had scheduled in his diary had been to discuss nothing more serious than the recent discovery of gold in New South Wales. Now, he had the Foreign Secretary, Lord Aberdeen, and the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Lord Anglesey, about to enter his office to discuss a war which seemed to have broken out of nowhere. Relations with the United States had been cool ever since Jackson’s election, but both sides had averted the crises which had threatened war. This time, there had been no brewing crises, only a brief note delivered by the American minister. On the same day that news came of open uprising in Ireland.

Worse, both of them would be berating him for not acting to emancipate the Catholics earlier. Anglesey had warned of the danger of revolt in Ireland, and events had now proven him right. [1]

When Aberdeen and Anglesey were ushered in, Peel made sure he kept the discussion on a subject which was less personally threatening to him. “This American treachery has already been responded to. Their minister has been expelled. All their diplomats will soon be gone. We can accept them back in time, but this declaration of war is unconscionable.”

“They’ll already be attacking our North American possessions,” Anglesey said. Foreign affairs were not strictly his bailiwick, but that had never stopped him before.

“New England will stand with us,” Aberdeen said, his voice full of calm assurance.

Anglesey said, “If the Americans haven’t attacked them already.”

“They probably have,” Aberdeen said. “The Americans have long been planning this. The First Nations will be destroyed. Tecumseh was a great man, but his legacy will not survive his death.”

“And can we defeat the United States?” Peel said.

“You should be asking our generals that, not myself,” Aberdeen said. “But the Americans have been preparing for a fight for years. They will be difficult to defeat.”

“Especially with the small matter of our troops being busy in Ireland,” Anglesey said. “We have to reconsider our position on Catholics.”

Peel said, “I would be prepared to consider that only after we defeat the uprising. We cannot allow the Irish to think that they can dictate terms to our government.” He didn’t bother adding that many of the Irish revolutionaries were surely demanding many more things besides emancipation.

“Wars on both sides of the Atlantic?” Anglesey said. “The Royal Navy can probably find the ships it needs, but can we raise that many men?”

Aberdeen said, “It could get worse. Charles X is still smarting after we chased him out of Argentina and Mexico. The French remain friendly with the United States. If they join the war, things could become... more difficult.”

“God preserve us,” Peel said. This situation looked grimmer the more he learned about it.


21 May 1833

Hartford, Connecticut

Republic of New England

Until the event, President Horatio Seymour had never thought he would be glad to see war return to New England. Standing alone, New England could never hope to gain more than a draw against the United States. The Continental Army and militias could probably hope to hold the fortifications along the Lowell-Gallatin line.

But they might still lose. Only if they had secure relations with Great Britain could New England feel secure in its borders. And relations with the United Kingdom had been strained of late. The Republican tenure in office had been brief, but their demands for commercial concessions, pro-Catholicism and friendship with the United States had made the British uneasy. And Seymour himself was glad to see Federalism restored, which meant that the Republicans’ agitation against property qualifications, immigration restrictions and constitutional amendments had also been defeated. He devoutly hoped that Vice-President Thomas Oakley would follow him, not one of the New York or New Hampshire Republicans.

But the United States’ blatant declaration of war had ensured that the British and New England would stand together. And that the British would go to whatever lengths they needed to defeat the Americans, despite the loss of their Indian allies. Privately, Seymour welcomed the Indians’ fate – they had always made uncertain allies, as their raids had always angered the Americans, and they occupied land which would be much better in New England. The initial embarrassments of the U.S. naval raids would soon be forgotten once the Royal Navy joined their New England counterparts. Of that, Seymour remained certain.


24 May 1833

Detroit, Michigan Country

U.S. Occupied

General Winfield Scott had seen many battles in his life, during the unfortunate last war, and in his later campaigns against the Indians. But none of them had given him the same satisfaction as the one he had just won. Detroit should have always belonged to the United States. It had been wrongfully stolen during the Great Rebellion, and it now had more people of Yankee descent than anywhere else. But now it had been returned to the country where it belonged.

A passing officer caught Scott’s eye, and saluted. “Yes, First Lieutenant Lee?” Scott said. He did not know the names of all his officers, but this young officer was one to watch.

“The British prisoners of war have been gathered,” Lee reported.

“Excellent,” Scott said, as the officer walked away again. He was glad for all the prisoners they had captured. The U.S. Army had made spectacular gains initially, but they could not be sustained alone. Scott had overseen the development of the Army into a substantial force, but there were still relatively few regulars. They would need to rely on the deployment of militia and volunteers to strengthen their numbers, and that would take time. All the prisoners they captured would gain them valuable time to follow up their initial success.

“And may we have much success elsewhere,” Scott murmured. It would be needed. The Indian Confederation was broken, by all reports, with only a few French and Yankee fortified trading posts still holding out, but there were many other frontiers. The more distant Northwest Territories, where the British retained contact with the Indian tribes even outside of the Confederation. Along the New England border, where the majority of the U.S. Army was gathered. And, of course, on the high seas. Scott devoutly hoped that the United States had gained the same victories there as they had in the west.


[1] Wellington’s defeat at Waterloo means that he never rose to a prominent position, and thus never became Prime Minister. This has delayed the push for Catholic Emancipation, and the process of parliamentary reform in the UK.


Decades of Darkness #27: Around The World in Eighty Names

This is the results of the first “Where are they now?” call in the Decades of Darkness TL. It mostly follows people up until the outbreak of the War of 1833, with a few exceptions.


John Quincy ADAMS: The US minister to the Russian Empire during the War of 1811, he was involved in the peace negotiations that followed. Adams returned reluctantly to Massachusetts, where he retired from public life for a number of years. He returned to public life during 1817, when he was one of the founders of the Republican Party. He was an unsuccessful candidate in the 1818 and 1822 presidential elections. However, his proposals for improved highways and canals were largely adopted by the successful President Dana in 1823. He was appointed Secretary of State under President Sanford in 1827, but removed from office with the election of President Seymour in 1831. Adams remains an influential elder statesman within the Republicans.

James Gillespie BIRNEY:Birney finished his education in New Jersey in 1810, just as the spectre of war was forming. His study of law as interrupted by the war, and he moved to Alabama and opened a cotton plantation. He remains there at the outbreak of the War of 1833.

Chief BLACK HAWK: One of the leading chiefs in the Indian Confederation; the Sauk lands stretch on both sides of the Mississippi. Black Hawk and his warriors were responsible for some of the raids during 1829-1830 which brought the United States and Britain to the brink of war, and it took considerable effort by Tecumseh to force Black Hawk to stop. As of 1833, Black Hawk and the Sauk were reported to be near the Mississippi, in the former Illinois Territory.

Simon BOLIVAR (South American general and statesman): Bolivar was one of the envoys sent in the unsuccessful diplomatic mission to Britain in 1811. On his return, he became a spectacularly successful general, despite occasional reversals. He was proclaimed President of the Republic of Colombia [Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, and Ecuador], and assisted in the liberation of Peru. Colombia was spared from the worst of the European counter-revolutions, and Bolivar was able to defeat most of the attacks even before the French withdrew. The European invasions proved a distraction from the brewing civil wars within Colombia. In 1833, Bolivar still faces the attempts to break up Colombia.

Sir Isaac BROCK (British-Canadian general): In 1811, General Brock was defeated outside Amherstburg by the Union forces under General Pinckney. He was injured and then taken prisoner during the battle, and sat out the rest of the war as a prisoner. He died in obscurity.

Aaron BURR: Famous for the intrigues of his earlier career, and the murder of Alexander Hamilton, Burr continued his chequered career after the outbreak of the War of 1811. He is often suspected of arranging the murder of Rufus King, although without any hard evidence. He is, however, credited with arranging for De Witt Clinton to bring New York into the Republic of New England. Clinton briefly appointed Burr as minister to the United States (in 1815), but Burr was expelled after a U.S. protest. In 1823, Burr was lucky to escape with his life after attempting to arrange an expedition from Detroit to annex large parts of the Indian Confederation to New England. He currently has links to the Velvet Circle and other pro-secession groups within the U.S. state of Pennsylvania.

John BROWN: Often called a Yankee caught on the wrong side of the border, John Brown’s father was a wandering New Englander who led his son through much of New England, New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio before the outbreak of the War of 1811. He herded cattle for General Pinckney’s army during the war, and ended up at the burning of York (later Toronto). Brown returned to Pennsylvania, where he tried to run several businesses, but failed. By the late 1820s, Brown had become part of the “Velvet Circle” in Pennsylvania, who issued tracts and speeches against the extension of slavery, calling for its gradual abolition. By 1833, John Brown was being accused of extremism even within the Velvet Circle, and had been associating with other prominent Pennsylvanians who advocated secession from the United States in favour of joining free-soil New England.

David CROCKETT: Born in East Tennessee in 1786, Crockett first rose to prominence during the War of 1811, when he served under General Wilkinson in the Indian Wars, including the Creek War. He served three terms in the Tennessee legislature before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1825, and re-elected in 1827, 1829, 1831 and 1833. A charismatic if uneducated speaker, Crockett was originally a supporter of President Calhoun, but later transferred his support to President Andrew Jackson. Crockett was one of the influential voices behind the 1833 declaration of war against Great Britain and New England.

Jefferson DAVIS: Appointed to Wilkinson Military Academy in 1825. After graduation, he became a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. In 1833, he was a First Lieutenant and took part in the initial raid on Prophet’s Town, Indian Confederation, which was one of the opening blows in the War of 1833.

Francisco DE GOYA (1746-1828) (Spanish artist): Served as court painter to the French during the Napoleonic invasions of Spain. His frighteningly realistic etchings in “The Disasters of War”, which would be published after his death, depicted the horrors of war. After the defeat of Napoleon, De Goya was pardoned for his service for the French but ordered into exile. He was briefly a court painter to the King of Sardinia, but moved first to France then to Mexico. His depictions of the French invasion of Mexico City are considered amongst his finest works. He died in Mexico City on 15 June 1828.

Agustin DE ITURBIDE: One of the key figures in the Mexican War of Independence, De Iturbide was successful in serving on both sides, until he finally had himself proclaimed Emperor of Mexico in 1822. His grip on the throne looked shaky, but the French invasions helped to unite Mexicans behind him, allowing him to act as the figurehead of resistance. He was also fortunate that one of his main rivals, Vicente Guerrero, died during the invasion. De Iturbide maintains a shaky grip on the throne at the outbreak of the War of 1833.

DINGANE: [Largely as per OTL]. Dingane became King of the Zulus after assassinating his brother Shaka. He continues to oversee the expansion of the Zulu Empire.

Thomas Wilson DORR: Prominent Rhode Island lawyer (practicing since 1827) and member of the “Young Republicans” arm of the Republican Party of New England. His are some of the most effective arguments for reforming the New England Constitution provisions against foreign-born residents holding office. He has also been campaigning against the still-extant property qualifications for voting, the religious tests for office, and the immigration restrictions.

William Lloyd GARRISON (1805-1824): William’s father deserted his family in 1808 due to crippling debt; one of many New England merchants affected by the Embargo Act. Garrison’s early life was one of hard work and determination, working through failed apprenticeships. Unable to gain suitable employment anywhere on land, Garrison enlisted in the New England Navy, where he served on the NES Swan, and later transferred to the Argus under Commander Perry. During the boarding of a suspected slaving ship, Garrison was shot and later died of his wounds. He was buried at sea on 7 July 1824.

Robert Young HAYNE: Prominent South Carolinian Senator, then Governor from 1826. A staunch opponent of Jackson, and founding member of the Patriot Party which formed after the break-up of the Republican Party. Hayne has become outspoken in his opposition to the centralisation which is taking place under Jackson, despite his support of the general principles of expansionism and slavery extension. Hayne was particularly famous for pardoning several people convicted of importing slaves into South Carolina during 1827-1828.

Sam HOUSTON: Enrolled in the army after the outbreak of the War of 1811. Badly wounded four times during the war. Remained in the army afterwards, until his resignation in 1819. Studied law in Tennessee, admitted to the bar. Unsuccessfully stood for election to U.S. Congress in 1823. After the break-up of his marriage shortly thereafter, Houston migrated to Texas. He soon rose to prominence in Texan affairs, being nominated for several military commands, and attending the Conventions of 1830 and 1831. He was one of the signatories to the Texan Declaration of Independence on 12 January 1833, and shortly after was elected general.

Edgar Allan POE: Orphaned early in his life, Poe was fostered by a series of merchant families. Poe graduated from West Point in 1829 and was admitted to the Continental Army. By 1833, he had attained the rank of captain and was stationed in a fort near the New-York Pennsylvania border. Poe has repeatedly been reprimanded by his superiors for writing poetry and other fiction when he should be commanding his men.

George PREVOST (1767-1812): Prevost served as the overall commander of military forces in British North America during the first part of the War of 1811. He led a wing of the invasion forces into New Jersey during 1812, and was killed in the Battle of New Brunswick in that year.

Lt. Col. Charles-Michel DE SALABERRY: Military commander during the War of 1811. He had a number of victories over Union forces, including some successful raids into upstate New York around Buffalo.

Antonio Lopez de SANTA ANNA: One of the main figures in the Mexican War of Independence, and renowned as a national hero for helping to repel the French from Mexico City. Santa Anna is currently reported to be chafing under the rule of Emperor De Iturbide, but his plans for a revolution were put on hold by the recent Texan declaration of independence.

Henry Rowe SCHOOLCRAFT: (1793-1821). Explorer, ethnologist and victim, Schoolcraft took part in an ill-fated expedition to find the source of the Mississippi. He died at the hands of hostile Indians somewhere along the northwestern borders of the Indian Confederation, according to the panicked accounts of survivors of the expedition.

William Barret TRAVIS: Born in South Carolina, Travis had a brief career as an attorney before his marriage in 1828. When his wife died in childbirth the following year, Travis left South Carolina and moved to Arkansaw Territory. Disappointed with the prospects there, he moved onto Texas in 1830. He arrived to find Texas a hotbed of unrest, with the growing calls for independence from Mexico, and volunteered to join in the militia there. With the declaration of independence in 1833, Travis assumed command of a detachment of militia, and is currently preparing to fight against the Mexicans.

Martin VAN BUREN: After the chaos of the War of 1811, Van Buren rose to prominence in New York. He was a moderate Federalist at first, but abandoned that party for the Republicans after the Federalists continued to oppose the elimination of property qualifications for voting. He was elected as a New York Senator in 1823, and became one of the leading Republicans in that state. He was a staunch supporter of President Sanford during the latter’s election, but had a rift after he was passed over as Secretary of State in favour of John Quincy Adams. He was appointed to fill a vacancy in the New England Senate in 1832, and remains an influential member of that body.

Cornelius VANDERBILT: Prominent New York capitalist, his steamboat empire expanded dramatically with the construction of canals was given federal approval by President Dana in 1823. His growing commercial empire includes strong trading links with the Canadas and the United States. Vanderbilt has been an opponent of the establishment of tariffs in New England, and has lent his considerable financial support to the most pro-United States wing of the Republican Party.

Hugh Lawson WHITE: Prominent Senator from Tennessee. First elected in 1823, re-elected in 1829. Serves as President pro tempore of the U.S. Senate. Widely regarded as Jackson’s heir apparent to the Presidency, although there are also rumours that Jackson will seek a third term in office. [Note: not to be confused with Hugh White, a relatively obscure New York Congressman in both OTL and TTL.]

William WIRT: Eminent author and lawyer, William Wirt became a long-standing Attorney General, serving from 1816-1832. He retired on the grounds of ill-health, and died two years later.


Decades of Darkness #28: Ravens

22 May 1833

Fort Clinton,

New York State,

Republic of New England

Bodies covered the ground between Fort Clinton and the Susquehanna. They were still too recent to smell, but already the carrion birds were gathering overhead. A solitary man wearing the army of a captain in the Continental Army walked through the bodies. He looked over the corpses, a vacant expression on his face. New England might have held off the U.S. invaders, but as with all true battlefields, the true winners were the ravens.

The captain wandered aimlessly amongst the corpses, his thoughts meandering as well. He murmured to himself as he walked.

“Once upon a war-field dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,

Over many a fallen and curious corpse by the river shore,

While I nodded, nearly dying, suddenly there came a crying,

As of some one gently trying, trying at the army corps,

As the ravens were crying, crying at the army corps,

Thus quoth the ravens, “Never war, never war.”


26 May 1833,

Near the Mississippi,

Indian Confederation

U.S. Occupied

The pleasant warmth of what the Americans called May was a season which Black Sparrow Hawk enjoyed. He had seen too many long winters, and the cold seemed to cling closer to his bones with every passing year. But the heat of approaching summer made him relish the season.

Especially today, of all days. The too-proud Americans had invaded the lands of the Indian Confederation, after the death of the great Tecumseh. They had burned Prophet’s Town, and thought that this meant that the Confederation was broken.

They had much to learn.

Black Sparrow Hawk led more than a thousand warriors of the Sauk and Mesquakie, and they were ready to strike. A regiment of American soldiers were encamped near the Mississippi. In their arrogance, they had not kept proper watch, and Black Sparrow Hawk had positioned his warriors to strike with the dawn. They could wreak immense damage on the Americans in a quick raid, and then be gone before the invaders could react. If they succeeded, Black Sparrow Hawk hoped that he could draw warriors from the Winnebago and other tribes who were cowering from the initial American invasion.

Tecumseh should have let Black Sparrow Hawk continue his raids of the summers before, since that would have weakened the Americans even then. But there was yet time.

The first rays of the dawn broke over the eastern horizon. Black Sparrow Hawk signalled to his neighbouring warriors, and urged his horse forward as they began the raid.

As his warriors rode down into the camp, on horses which were mostly gifts from the British, and muskets bought off the Yankees, Black Sparrow Hawk glimpsed a raven watching him from a tree.

It was a good omen. “We will give you a great feast of American flesh today,” he told the raven, and sent his horse galloping ahead.


17 July 1833,

Baltimore, Maryland

United States of America

A lone raven sat near the dock as Captain Elie Frederio Forey stepped onto the soil of the New World for the first time in eight years. When he had left Veracruz eight years before, he had been a lieutenant leaving with his regiment after the English had required the intervention in the Americas to end. Now, he returned as a volunteer, with his own command of volunteers, to repay the English by aiding their allies. And, if he was fortunate, liberating his countrymen in Quebec who were ruled over by the Englishmen.

“We have a debt to settle with the Englishmen,” Forey murmured. The French armies had been winning in Mexico before the English forced their recall.

A few of his countrymen were disembarking from the ship behind him. Forey started to turn to speak to them, but his eyes were drawn back to the raven. He would have expected seabirds, even on this side of the Atlantic, but instead this solitary black bird waited, watching him. What it was doing here on the docks, Forey could only wonder.

“Messr Forey?” someone asked, in hideously-accented French.

“Oui,” Forey said, turning to see a formidably-nosed man in the uniform of an American colonel.

“Bon jour. Je suis Colonel Zachary Taylor,” the officer said.

“Bon jour,” Forey said, then switched to English. He preferred his command of that language to Taylor’s butchering of the divine French tongue. “I am honoured to meet you, Colonel Taylor. I did not expect such a welcome for a mere volunteer.”

Taylor’s face crinkled into a smile. “For most volunteers, I wouldn’t have come. But for one of the most distinguished captains in the French Army, how could I fail to attend?”

Forey said, “You know of me?”

Taylor nodded. “We’ve heard of your great courage in the business of Mexico. I would like to express the gratitude of the United States that you and your compatriots have decided to help us in shaving the mane off the British lion.”

Forey chuckled. “Gladly will I do so. And I hope more of my countrymen will join us here.”

“We can hope,” Taylor said.

“You think they will be stopped?” Forey said.

The American colonel shrugged. “So far, the British have not stopped French volunteers coming here. They fear more what will happen if they provoke Charles X into declaring war on them. But if they become aggravated enough, the Royal Navy will make travel difficult.”

“Perhaps,” Forey said. The Royal Navy had been the only thing which saved the British from Napoleon, and which allowed them to prevent the conquest of Mexico. Since then, Charles X had been quietly strengthening the French Navy. It was reported that the Americans had been doing the same. Between them, they might be able to defeat the Royal Navy, if it came to open war between France and England.

Forey’s gaze returned to the raven. The bird seemed to be watching him. He could never remember seeing such an intelligent expression on an animal, except on the one occasion he had glimpsed the King of England.

“That bird’s been here for a while,” Taylor said. “Maybe it wants to greet all the French volunteers.”

Forey said, “I hope it follows us. We will give it plenty of British corpses to feast on.”

Taylor clapped him on the back. “Well said!” He waved a hand, and an American came over with a bottle of wine. “I had been planning on offering you a welcoming toast, but that sentiment is even better.” After the wine was poured, Taylor held up his glass and said, “To ravens.”

The wine was poor, Forey thought, but he gladly repeated the toast all the same.


18 July 1833,


Republic of Texas (proclaimed)

Empire of Mexico (recognised)

James Bowie turned to his second-in-command as they marched down the hot, dry road into Concepcion Town. “You know, Mexico would be a wonderful country if it weren’t full of Mexicans.”

Andrew Briscoe [1] duly chuckled. “Mexican customs authorities, especially.”

Bowie nodded. His own natural instinct was to lash out at the Mexicans who still lived under an emperor, of all the antiquated customs, and who wanted to keep Texas under his thumb. He knew that Briscoe had other reasons for hating the Mexican authorities. Mostly because he thought they were bad for business.

A shot rang out from above them. Bowie barked orders, but the hundred men behind him were already returning fire. A few moments later, they had three dead Mexican scouts for the price of a couple of bullet holes in hats.

They left the bodies to rest where they fell. Bowie said, “Let them stay there as proof that the Mexicans can’t stop a stronger race.”

Ravens were starting to gather around the bodies before Bowie led his men out of sight and on toward Concepcion Town.


[1] Born in November 1810 in OTL, Briscoe has just managed to be born in TTL.


Decades of Darkness #29: Wars and Rumours of Wars

Selected Important Dates in North American History: 1826-1833

Taken from “The Compleat Textbook Series: Early American History”

By J. Edward Fowler (Principal Author)

Sydney, Kingdom of Australia.

(c) 1948 Eagle Publishing Company: Sydney. Used with permission


Formation of the Democratic Party in the United States, led by Andrew Jackson. Many prominent Democratic-Republicans desert to join it, particularly in the western states.

Hudson’s Bay Company establishes Fort Vancouver on the Columbia River, strengthening British control of the Oregon Country.

Last of the Creek Indians evicted from Georgia. Pressure begins to be placed on the Cherokee.

Religious revivals start in New England, and continue over a number of years. Prominent figures include Theodore Weld, and Arthur and Lewis Tappan. The religious revival has limited effect south of the border, except for some areas of Pennsylvania and Delaware.


U.S. President Calhoun issues a protest over British occupation of the Oregon Country, in a bid to strengthen his domestic standing in the face of increasing publicity for Andrew Jackson. The British ignore the complaint, and the long-standing dispute over the northern and western boundaries of the United States remains unresolved.

Nathan Sanford (New York) inaugurated as 5th President of New England, the first Republican to hold that office. Charles Cutts (New Hampshire) inaugurated as Vice-President.

Washington [northern Arkansas + southern Missouri] admitted as the 18th state of the Union. Washington is a slave state.


The presidential election campaign in the United States begins early, with the Democrats holding a national convention and recognising Andrew Jackson as their leader.

Prominent anti-slavery newspaper writer Benjamin Lundy killed by a slave trader in Baltimore, Maryland. Despite vocal condemnation from sections of the United States and from New England, Lundy’s killer is found not guilty on grounds of self-defence.

Joseph Smith, Jr., founds the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Pennsylvania.


Andrew Jackson (Tennessee) inaugurated as 8th President of the United States. Richard Rush (Pennsylvania) inaugurated as Vice-President.

One of Jackson’s first acts is to recognise the independence of Greece; one of the few times in recorded history where the British and Americans found themselves in accord. Jackson also offers to purchase Texas-Coahuila from Mexico; Emperor De Iturbide refuses the offer.

Mexico forbids further settlement of U.S. citizens into Texas. The prohibition is largely ignored.

Proposed act to partition New York State into three states is defeated in the New England House of Representatives.

Railroad construction expands rapidly in New England, particularly around Boston, and in New York and New Jersey.

Major Indian raids into Ohio and Indiana cause considerable damage. President Jackson deploys regular army units into the frontier, and sends two punitive expeditions.

Joseph Smith publishes “The Book of Nephi”.


Indian raids into the United States are curtailed under pressure from the British-Canadian government. President Sanford was notable in reducing the tensions.

Nat Turner leads a violent slave revolt in Virginia. The revolt requires 3000 members of the state militia to suppress. Nat Turner is executed, along with several of his followers. Secretary of State Henry Clay arranges for the free-born followers of the revolt (except for those guilty of murder) to be forcibly removed to Liberia rather than executed, setting the precedent for exiling free blacks to that colony for minor and even contrived precedents. Attitudes toward slavery in Virginia harden considerably as a result of the revolt.

Republican Party of the United States breaks apart. Many of its prominent members join the Patriot Party, including former President Calhoun.

First Constitutional Convention held in Texas.

Thomas Lincoln and his family, including Abraham Lincoln, migrate to New England, settling in New York State.


Horatio Seymour (Vermont), Federalist, inaugurated as the 6th President of New England. Thomas Jackson Oakley (New York), Federalist, inaugurated as Vice-President.

Second Constitutional Convention held in Texas. Texas issues call for establishment of an independent republic.


Massive slave revolt in Jamaica, with over 25,000 slaves involved.

Publication of Patrick Matthew’s “Design and Evolution: The Natural Selection of Species.” [1] Copies reach North America in the same year, and cause considerable consternation and discussion.


Texas issues Declaration of Independence (January 12).

United States of America declares war on the United Kingdom, New England, and the Indian Confederation (8 May).


Excerpts from “Among The Ravens: The War of 1833 and its Historical Context”

(c) 1946 by Martin van Buren VI

Boston University Press

Boston: New England


The 1830s were a decade with far too many wars. After the relative peace of the 1820s throughout most of the civilised world, except for South America, the new decade saw a return to the seemingly endless cycle of wars which had characterised the Napoleonic era. It is fitting that this decade is best remembered for the haunting poem “The Ravens”, by the acclaimed poet and novelist E. Allan Poe, which described the horrors of war. Reportedly written while Poe was still a captain in the Continental Army, the poem came to symbolise the war and indeed the entire sorry decade.

For, without doubt, the 1830s were a time when war seemed to range everywhere. Most of the countries in the civilised world were touched by war, in one way or another. The War of 1833 is naturally remembered most in New England, but most other countries were touched by war.

The Texan War of Independence from Mexico, and the subsequent Mexican Civil War, were two other wars which touched North America. So, too, were the “Pirate Wars” in the Caribbean. The rest of the Americas escaped no better, with civil war in Colombia breaking out in 1830 and continuing for most of the decade. The revolt of Upper Peru provided another brief but fiery war around the same time. To this can be added the break-up of the Central American Union late in the 1830s.

Europe itself had its share of wars during the decade. As well as being involved in the War of 1833, Britain faced a substantial Irish uprising during this period, marking the start of the long-lasting troubles with the Emerald Isle. Even as the decade drew to a close, with the War of 1833 finally settled, the British were dragged into another war in China. While 1833 is noted for the war named for it, the same year also saw the start of the First Carlist Wars in Spain. The 1830s also saw the two failed Belgian Revolutions, which dragged in Prussia, Austria, and the rest of the German Confederation, and which started the long road to German unification. And on the fringes of Europe, the Russian-Ottoman War of 1834-1836 saw the clash between a dying nation and one in its ascendancy. The war was well-timed by the Russians, begun when the other European powers were distracted by the War of 1833 and the Belgian Rebellion, and delivered a crushing victory to the Russian Empire and marked another step along the road to Great Power status which Russia had begun with the defeat of Napoleon in 1812. [2]

Of all these wars, however, the War of 1833 was the most wide-ranging, and the one which had the greatest geo-political implications...

Chapter 3: The First Phase

...The United States held most of the advantages throughout 1833 itself. Their army and navy were both well-prepared for war. With the help of complete strategic surprise, they achieved considerable initial success. The Indian Confederation effectively ceased to exist before the end of the year; the few Indian warriors who remained operated as auxiliaries to British and New England units who operated in the Indians’ former lands. The U.S.A also made considerable encroachments onto British and New England lands, occupying Detroit, and breaching the Lowell-Gallatin Line to capture Buffalo, as well as incursions into New Jersey. They also received support from volunteer French soldiers fighting with the tacit blessing of Charles X, and sympathy from Irish settlers in New England.

There were some signs of fortune for the allied forces. The Americans were checked along most of the New York-Pennsylvania border. The Indians such as Black Hawk had some success, but they could not press on forever. The naval struggle remained unclear, with the bulk of the Royal Navy not arriving in Halifax until nearly the year’s end. By then, the British, while not reeling, were placed under considerable pressure due to a lack of forces in the Canadas. The British Government regarded the Irish uprising as the greater threat, diverting most of their troops there earlier in the war, leaving the main burden of the land war to fall on New England. The apparent success of the Americans led to rumours that Charles X, already firmly anti-British, was planning to officially join the war...

Chapter 4: The Texas Gambit

The Texan Declaration of Independence should have come as no surprise to the Mexican authorities, given that the first convention was held in 1830. However, Emperor De Iturbide appears to have underestimated the Texan desire for independence, assuming that their demands would run to no more than legal reform. Certainly, the imperial government should have realised the seriousness of the situation earlier. The United States had tried to purchase Texas-Coahuila in 1829, and been firmly rebuffed. U.S. citizens had continued to flood into Texas despite the prohibition on migration...

The initial success of the Texan revolutionaries should have been enough to secure its independence. The defeats inflicted on the Mexican forces showed that subduing them would be difficult. But with the settlers also demanding the cession of at least part of Coahuila, which had received considerable American settlement, the war threatened to drag on – until the United States intervened.

At the time, many influential figures in the U.S. government called President Jackson a fool for his decision to provide support to the Texan revolutionaries. South Carolinian Governor Hayne’s famous injunction “one war at a time” was oft-repeated, and Jackson was criticised for making the same mistake as Madison.

However, events proved that Jackson had been correct. The United States needed only to deploy two regiments which would not have been used during that part of the war in any case, since they were deployed on the south-western frontier. In exchange, he gained a huge swathe of territory in Texas-Coahuila, which would form four future states, and substantial numbers of volunteer units who would then contribute to war on the U.S. side...


[1] In OTL, Patrick Matthew published an obscure and largely unnoticed precursor to Darwin and Wallace’s theory of natural selection. Matthew’s theory of natural selection had much in common with Darwin’s and Wallace’s, including the idea of a struggle for existence, but it also had some important differences. In particular, he emphasised the action of natural selection as an agent of stasis, and thus keeping populations where they are now. He also remained convinced for the importance of keeping a divine being in the process. His theory of natural selection is thus more acceptable to the religious sections of the United States, and can be readily converted to an ideology of being a God-favoured race which deserves to dominate the other, fixed inferior races of humanity.

[2] In OTL, the Russians fought an earlier war (in 1828-1829) against the Ottomans after the Greek War of Independence and were stopped from going further, partly, by a Polish revolt. This war happens later than in OTL, and the Russians extract much more substantial gains from the Ottomans, although as in OTL, they still prefer to leave a weakened Ottoman Empire than a power vacuum which would invite other nations to step in.


Decades of Darkness #30: Crows and Jackals

12 January 1834

Capitol Building

Washington, District of Columbia

United States of America

“Do you understand these instructions?” Secretary of State Henry Clay asked.

“I have heard them, yes, but I do not understand them,” said George Mifflin Dallas, until recently a U.S. Senator, and now the newly-appointed minister to Russia. If the British honoured the diplomatic safe-conduct – as they had been doing scrupulously so far during the war – then Dallas would soon be in St Petersburg, ready to deliver President Jackson’s proposal.

Clay said, “It is quite simple. You are to deliver a request to Tsar Nicholas to mediate between the United States and the Halifax Pact.”

“I don’t understand,” Dallas repeated. “We are winning the war. Why would we want to stop?”

Clay had to stop himself shaking his head. Like too many of his countrymen, Dallas saw only what was before his eyes, and not over the horizon. “President Jackson has been persuaded that this is an ideal time to seek an end to the war.”

“We are giving up while we are winning?” Dallas said. “Are we going to lose another war, just as we lost the War of 1811?”

“The United States are not giving up. We have gained what we wanted,” Clay said. “The lands stolen from us and turned into the so-called Indian Confederation have been restored. Detroit once again flies the American flag. We have captured Buffalo and much of New York State. Not to mention part of New Jersey. We cannot, realistically, hope for more.” Privately, Clay had always thought this war a perilous adventure. “Best to end the war while we have many gains and not much blood shed to achieve it.”

“The British will refuse it, most likely,” Dallas said. “The Yankees certainly will. You think they will abandon part of their land so easily?”

“They may reject it,” Clay said. In fact, he reckoned that likely. “But we will put the proposal to them, all the same.”

Clay feared that the Halifax Pact would do exactly as Dallas predicted. He had opposed this war from the start, with what he still believed were valid reasons. The early gains in the north, and the unexpected gain of Texas and Coahuila, did nothing to change his belief. The British Empire alone was a formidable opponent. When allied with the New Englanders, it became a very dangerous opponent. Once the British put down the Irish uprising – perhaps even beforehand – they would be here in strength.

Clay still felt uneasy when he considered the naval strength of the British. On land, the redcoats were still weak. But he had never forgotten the burning of Washington. The British could do that again, or worse. Raids on American ports could cripple commerce for years to come.

Dallas said, “And what terms will we be putting to the Halifax Pact?”

“About what you would expect,” Clay said. All the lands of the Indian Confederation restored to the United States. Detroit and the parts of New England we hold to be purchased by the United States, subject to negotiation of the boundaries. And demiltarisation of the frontier on both sides, to allow trade to flourish. Recognition of our Mexican acquisitions.” Even if the British agreed to negotiate, Clay doubted they would gain such favourable terms. But the vital points would probably be conceded.

Dallas looked dubious. “I will convey the proposals, of course.” By his tone, he expected a negative response. As did Clay himself, come to that. But President Jackson had authorised the proposal, and thus it would go ahead.


From The Hartford Sentinel [1]

24 February 1834


The combined New England and Royal Navies have inflicted a major defeat on the U.S. Navy in the city of Norfolk, just inside Chesapeake Bay. A brilliant raid planned by Commodore Matthew Perry [2] has delivered a heart-warming victory to our gallant armed forces struggling against the depredations of the Americans who dare to invade our sacred soil and raid our blessed waters.

Sources report that the combined navies launched a dawn raid on Norfolk, catching the defenders unprepared. Our ships engaged the enemy vessels, destroying more than thirty American naval vessels, and a large number of merchant ships. The naval fortifications were badly damaged. Landings by marines allowed the destruction of the docks and other buildings. [3]

The damage to Norfolk is reported to be considerable, and the smoke from the raid was still rising high when our ships departed. We can also hope that American commerce will duly suffer from the effects of this raid.


Editorial from The Hartford Sentinel

24 February 1834

It is reported from our friends in Federal House [4] that President Seymour has rejected the so-called “peace” proposals of the United States. It is our firm editorial opinion that he could have taken no other course. If President Seymour had accepted “King Jackson’s” proposal, he would have been impeached within the day, and, one suspects, he would have voted for his own impeachment.

For there can never be a smidgen of doubt that the New Republic is right to continue to fight this war. The United States have only ever grudgingly accepted our existence, believing us to be a rogue child in the brotherhood of nations. And well may they hate us, for we hold true to everything that they have abandoned. The United States have, in the immortal words of Timothy Pickering, “kept the name of a republic but abandoned the form”. How can we then be surprised that they hate our own beloved New England, which keeps both the name and the form of good government?

For the delivery of such an importunate peace treaty shows how morally bereft the United States have become. George Washington was a great man, and if it were possible to shed tears in heaven, then even in the glorious New Jerusalem of his eternal reward, he would be creating a new river in that divine city as he wept for the stench which has become attached to the earthly city that bears his name. Washington D.C. has become the latter day Babylon, and the only emanations which come from it are the smoke which rises above hellfire. King Jackson has belched forth his smoke against it, and gallant New Englanders are choking on the fumes in Buffalo and New Jersey. But just as the Israelites were delivered from Babylon, so shall New England, by the grace of our Lord, be delivered from Washington D.C.


Editorial from The Hartford Sentinel

25 February 1834

So, not content to attack New England alone, King Jackson has found himself a fellow-king to assist him. The French volunteer regiments which had been fighting beside the Americans now have become official French forces. King Charles X has shown the true desire of most European monarchs to put an end to republicanism, knowing that it spells the end of their desire to rule by right of “blood”. We can only thank our glorious Lord God that King William IV of Britain, and his predecessors, understand allowing Parliament to rule, even if they still do not have a true republic.

For this, as always, shows how the United States have fallen. They are cowards and brutes, who struck only because they thought we were weak. The United States attacked out of a supposed claim to the lands of the Indian Confederation, citing the Indian raids of years before as cause for dissolving the Treaty of St. Petersburg. As with an unscrupulous barman who adds nine-tenths water to one part wine, so do the United States mix one part of truth to ten parts of lies. For it is true that Chief Black Hawk – who still continues his brave resistance to this day – should not have made raids into American territory. Yet how much truer is it than the Americans have shed ten drops of Indian blood for every drop of their own that was spilt? And even if that were not so, what cause but the arrogance of the sinful could have brought the United States to declare war on New England and the United Kingdom and to stage such infamous attacks?

And now, the King of France has decided to join the uncrowned King of the United States in attempting to bring to ruin the New Republic. Charles X did not declare war at first, like the coward that he is, but waited until it appeared that the United States were standing strong. Only by sending “volunteers” to fight for the United States could he show what he had planned. And even then, he did not declare war until the United States reached New Jersey and annexed part of Mexico’s territory. One suspects that had word of our glorious raid at Norfolk reached Versailles, then King Charles would not yet have joined this war. But he has. For the French are vultures, feeding on the corpses of the dead, and the Americans are the jackals who provide their bodies. [5] But while the United States still hold our sacred soil, we will drive them from it. The raid at Norfolk was only the beginning of what New England can do. The United States peace proposals are naught; only when they have withdrawn from our lands can there be peace.


26 February 1834

NES Nantucket

North Atlantic Ocean

The wind was blowing from the southwest; the perfect breeze to take the combined armada of British and New England ships of the line, frigates, and assorted smaller vessels back to port in New York. At least, it would have been, Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry thought, if all of this armada were returning to New York. Already, he could see the first squadron of British ships tacking to starboard to begin the voyage back to the British Isles. More would follow; it would be a much-reduced fleet that returned to New York.

“Is it necessary to remove so many ships?” Perry asked his old friend, Captain Albright, who remained on board the Nantucket as liaison. “It seems an over-reaction to the French joining the war. We knew it was coming, after all.”

“Of course we did. Why do you think half the Royal Navy is back in Scapa Flow even now?” Albright answered. [6]

“So now you send most of the other half? Even a quarter of the Royal Navy could keep the French on their side of the Channel.”

Albright said, “No-one wants to take the chance. But we have other reasons, anyway. With Charles X officially joining in, there’ll be war from the West Indies to India itself. We’ll need a lot of ships – and men – to deal with that.”

“But we were just starting to put pressure on the Americans,” Perry said. “With a few more raids on Baltimore or Charleston, or maybe even Washington, we could make them really hurt.”

“Commerce raiders will be the real hurt,” Albright said. “We’ve spent enough time hunting down the American ones. The French will be even worse.”

Perry felt his face form into a frown.

“Cheer up,” Albright said. “At least now Parliament will give us the money it needs. With the United States alone, our MPs thought that New England would carry the bulk of the war. The funds they did approve – and grudgingly – were being spent on Ireland. That’ll change now.”

“I suppose so,” Perry said. But his nod was reluctant. He suspected that the British would turn all that money into extra troops to be used capturing the French colonies in the West Indies, Africa and the Indian Ocean. It looked like the entire burden for the war would fall on New England. At least until the Irish were out of the war. Maybe even after that.


[1] The Hartford Sentinel is the oldest surviving paper in New England. It was then, as now, the paper most sympathetic to the propertied classes (at that time, the Federalist Party), including both the genuinely rich and the social aspirants. In this era, it was much more conservative than in the present day, although of course it remains the paper of the social conservatives. During the War of 1833, it was the most pro-war newspaper – although few people dared voice anti-war sentiments in any event – and the most staunchly pro-British.

[2] As in OTL, Commodore is not yet a permanent commissioned rank in the New England Navy (or the U.S. Navy), but a rank assigned to a captain commanding a group of vessels. Although the New England Navy has close ties to the Royal Navy, it has retained the distinction in rank. The New England Navy has, as yet, no admirals either.

[3] Naturally, the paper made no mention of the New England and Royal Navy losses in conducting the raid.

[4] The formal name for the residence of the New England President. Informally, it was even then most commonly referred to as “Pickering’s Cottage” for its modesty, but the Hartford Sentinel would hardly deign to use such a name.

[5] This is the earliest source that can be found for the origins of the unflattering New Englander nickname for the Americans.

[6] This is a reference to the operations against privateers. In the OTL War of 1812, and in TTL’s War of 1811 and War of 1833, privateers were a major nuisance, and Scapa Flow was one of the main bases for the ships fighting them. Albright is, of course, exaggerating about the number of ships deployed there.


Decades of Darkness #31: Active Negotiations

3 March 1834,

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

United States of America

John Brown did not know quite what he had expected on meeting Aaron Burr, but certainly not what he had found. Burr was an elderly man, of course, which he had expected, but he was also urbane and charming, incredibly smooth in his conversation. Which was far from the dragon-faced ogre and grand conspirator who had been reported in the United States. The former Vice-President of the USA. The man who was known to have murdered Alexander Hamilton, and was suspected of doing the same to Rufus King. The man who had first tried to separate the Western states from the USA, then had succeeded in separating New York, and who had tried to annex the Indian Confederation to New England.

The man who might, with Brown’s assistance and that of some of his compatriots, succeed in detaching Pennsylvania from the USA.

Burr said, “I’ve been watching your progress over the last few years. I should say, I’m quite impressed with what you’ve done.”

“We haven’t done enough,” Brown said. The Velvet Circle had been loud in its calls for the abolition of slavery, but that had made no impact in the United States. Too many men made money exploiting their fellow man, and looked down on black men as subhuman, to succeed within the United States. Brown had gradually realised that, and thus started contacts with others who preferred that Pennsylvania leave the Union altogether. “The Velvet Circle has made no progress. There are too many men in the United States who want to extend slavery. Take Illinios. It was barely made a free-soil state when it was formed, and now many of the people there want to bring in slaves. Only Pennsylvania is truly opposed to slavery. We cannot expunge it from the United States. We have to take action against it. And your help has enabled us to do more.”

That was certainly true; the supply of money, occasional arms, and moral support had been valuable. But Brown was most impressed by Burr’s own vigour. The man was nearly eighty, but he had somehow travelled from New York, through the battlefields in New Jersey, across the border into the United States, and reached Pennsylvania.

“I hope that we can do more still,” Burr said. “Separation has become nearly respectable in Pennsylvania, thanks in large part to your efforts. The thought occurs that if Pennsylvania declared its secession, the United States’ position would become untenable along the entire Lowell-Gallatin Line.”

Brown said, “Much as I wish we could do that, we would gain nothing but to be hanged as traitors.”

“Who by?” Burr said. “Secession is legal in the United States – which is ironic, since it is forbidden in New England – under your Fourteenth Amendment. How can it be treason to seek the rights guaranteed you under the Constitution of the United States?”

“What the law says matters very little,” Brown said, knowing the frustration was clear in his voice. “Just ask the slave importers in West Florida or South Carolina, if you want proof of that. We would be condemned as traitors just as much as, say, Rufus King was.”

“Ah, but there is a crucial difference,” Burr said. “Rufus King, may God have mercy on his soul, had no-one to help him. Pennsylvania does. New England and Britain both stand ready to help.”

“The same Britain and New England who can’t even defend their own borders?” Brown replied. “The United States hold more than half of New Jersey, much of New York State, and at last report were advancing into Upper Canada. And who now have found support from France.”

Burr shrugged. “It is one thing to capture territory. It is another thing to hold it. The United States’ soldiers are being stretched thin holding that land. If Pennsylvania were to declare its secession, and deploy its militia into the field, they would be able to defend themselves long enough for the Continental Army to aid them. The U.S. Army would have to withdraw with its supply lines cut.”

“Withdraw into Pennsylvania,” Brown said. “I want Pennsylvania free from the United States, but this is not the way to achieve it. At this time, I do not believe that New England and Britain are capable of helping us.”

Burr said, “So let that be, for now. I will continue my meetings with other Pennsylvanians. But would you change your view if the Halifax Powers showed they were capable of taking the war to the United States?”

“If they could show that, then yes, I would be,” Brown said.

Burr smiled.


24 April 1834

Waterloo (Later Porter) [1]

Texas-Coahuila Territory

United States of America

(Disputed territory; still claimed by Mexico)

“Miserable place for a capital,” General Sam Houston said. There had been many arguments about this place already, but for now, those matters could be put aside. The army gathered here, included the supporting U.S. regiments, had come to influence the ongoing negotiations. Whether Texas-Coahuila would be independent was a question which had already been answered, but the border disputes remained an ongoing dilemma. Including how much of Coahuila would be included in Texas-Coahuila.

“Oh, it has its charms,” General Peter Buell Porter replied. “I wouldn’t mind retiring here. Retiring again, I should say.”

Houston could only nod in sympathy. After seeing his nation tear itself apart during the Great Rebellion, Porter had eventually settled in Texas as a form of pleasant retirement. Only to find himself dragged into another war where he was more figurehead then actual commander. “We’ll have to see about that, after we’ve finished with General Santa Anna.”

Santa Anna, the leading Mexican general, remained in charge of the negotiations despite his multiple defeats. Emperor De Iturbide refused to take any part in the border settlement; he apparently wished Santa Anna to have the humiliation of defeat.

“We should be able to claim as much territory as we want,” Porter said.

“That would be ideal,” Houston said. He cast a silent glance at the approaching Senator Crockett, Jackson’s emissary to these negotiations. “But it won’t happen.”

President Jackson had made it clear, through Crockett, that while he welcomed freeing Texas from the grip of the Mexican Empire and welcoming it into the United States, he did not want to make so many demands that Santa Anna returned to war. With another war raging on their northern border, the United States did not want to become bogged down in a long Mexican campaign.

Sure enough, after Santa Anna and Crockett were both seated, Santa Anna put his proposal through the interpreter. “The Emperor has advised that he thinks the border should be at the Nueces River.”

Houston said, “That would leave too many Texan citizens within Mexico. The border should be at least at the Rio Grande.”

Santa Anna started shaking his head even before that was translated. “That would leave too many Mexican citizens within Texas. And what of the western border?”

Porter said, “We were not finished stating where we think the southern border should be. Much of Coahuila has Texan citizens, even south of the Rio Grande. We think the border should be the Rio Salado, then the Rio Sabinas to its headwaters, then due west to the intersection with the 103rd line of longitude. That should be our western border.”

Santa Anna looked as pale as his swarthy skin allowed. “That leaves us with virtually nothing.”

Porter shrugged. “Since your armies have shown themselves to be so ineffective, you should take these terms before we deliver worse ones. If it were up to me, say, and not the United States, I would be demanding more of Coahuila, and Chihuahua also.”

Santa Anna said, “What of the northern border?”

Houston said, “Let it fall at the 36th parallel, along our common border. As to where that leaves our border with the rest of the United States, that is a matter between us and them, not you.” As he spoke, Houston kept waiting for Crockett to intervene. By demanding such excessive terms, Houston hoped that they might get as far as the Rio Grande. That was what he really wanted.

Santa Anna muttered to himself for a while before he spoke again. “I doubt the Emperor would accept such terms.”

Crockett said, “Now, wait here a minute, General. Let’s talk about this.” Crockett stood, and motioned for Santa Anna to follow. They walked away with the interpreter in tow.

Houston sighed. “I’ll wager that Crockett wants to give Santa Anna everything he wants.”

Ported nodded. “I fear you’re right.”

Yet when the three other men returned a few minutes later, Santa Anna still looked unhappy, while Crockett smiled. Santa Anna said, “It has been pointed out to me that... that my best choice would be to accept your terms. In the name of the Emperor.”

Crockett said, “We will need to have a formal treaty signed by the Emperor, of course. If you prepare it, would you return to us for final signature?”

Santa Anna nodded curtly.

Porter said, “No need to come all the way out here. Perhaps somewhere closer to a city. Near San Antonio, pehaps.”

Houston nodded. “Not in the city, though. There’s a fort called the Alamo nearby. Let us meet there.”

Crockett smiled at Santa Anna. “I will see you again, General, at the Alamo.”

Santa Anna departed hurridly.

Houston shook his head. “I didn’t expect that, Senator. How did you make him give in so easily?”

Crockett said, “Easily. I pointed out to him that if he wanted to overthrow the Emperor, he would have his best chance if he blamed de Iturbide for the most humiliating defeat possible. Especially since his other alternative was having worse terms dictated at him.”

Houston chuckled. “Then we can truly celebrate the birth of the U.S. state – territory, for now, I suppose – of Texas-Coahuila.”


5 June 1834

Fort Clinton,

New York State,

Republic of New England

U.S. Occupied

The row of prisoners marched glumly along in front of Elie Frederio Forey, until recently a captain of a volunteer unit, now a major leading his own battalion of French troops. A battalion which was now advancing into New England territory. The first step in the defeat of a key British ally, and a step closer to Quebec. He did not know whether liberating that was a realistic goal, but he hoped it could be.

One of the prisoners caught his eye, a thin man wearing the uniform of a captain. Forey took the opportunity to practise his English with a man of rank. “What is your name, Captain?”

The captain bowed mockingly. “Captain E. Allan Poe, sir, at your service, Major Frenchman.”

Forey gave his own name.

“Well, Messr. Major Forey, you seem to have acquired a pet raven.”

Forey barely noticed the bird which had been following him ever since Baltimore. “It gives better conversation than most men.”

Poe raised an eyebrow. “You’ve taught it to speak?”

“No, I’ve taught it to stay silent,” Forey said. “What is conversation, after all, but an excuse for someone to listen to you?”

Poe said, “Then, sir, I am your prisoner, and I must perforce allow you to inflict conversation on me.”

Forey said, “A distinguished prisoner, however.” Forey decided he liked Poe’s sardonic outlook. “I would be honoured if you would join me and my officers for dinner tonight.”

Poe said, “An evening with civilised conversation certainly sounds better than a night wrestling for space with cockroaches and privates.”

Forey laughed. “Welcome, then.” He had made a policy of ordering his troops to treat civilians well, to spare property, and to engage in no wanton destruction. [2] What had disturbed him was that the U.S. Army operated under no such constraints.

“I’ll have to make sure we amend that before we reach Quebec,” he muttered, then bade Poe farewell until the evening.


6 June 1834

NES Nantucket

Outside Chesapeake Bay

“This is a challenging stroke, Commodore,” Commander Albright told Perry. “I hope it works.”

“It will work,” Perry insisted. It has to work, he thought. The lines of ships stretched out before him on both sides. The New England Navy and the Royal Navy had both sortied in strength; every ship that could be spared from New York, Boston and Halifax. If this failed, they would be forced to rely on fresh ships from Britain, and those might be slow to arrive.

But the flotilla was in place; ships of the line, frigates, sloops, and cutters. And transport ships behind, packed with soldiers from the Continental Army and British and New England marines.

“This means a lot of troops missing from your border,” Albright said. “Troops that could be used in holding back the Jackals.”

“It will work,” Perry repeated. It had to work. New England badly needed a convincing victory in this war. The raid on Norfolk had had little effect on Yankee morale; the French entry into the war had more than cancelled that out.

The fleet kept sailing on, toward the mouth of the Potomac.


Excerpts from “Among The Ravens: The War of 1833 and its Historical Context”

(c) 1946 by Martin van Buren VI

Boston University Press

Boston: New England

Chapter 7: The Return to Washington

The successful raid on Washington had a major impact on the war. It represented the first assertion of naval superiority by the Halifax Powers which was to be crucial in determining the outcome of the war. While the troops did not remain in Washington for more than two days – long enough to burn most of the government buildings – when they withdrew to avoid conflict with fresh troops out of Baltimore, the blow to U.S. prestige was immense. The federal government withdrew from Washington for the duration of the war. More significantly, it raised New England morale, which had been badly weakened by the series of U.S. victories on land. And in perhaps the most important outcome – and one which had been unanticipated – it led the Pennsylvanian extremists to declare secession, changing the balance of the war.

The raid on Washington also had some long-term, unanticipated effects. After the war, the United States decided to relocate the District of Columbia to a more secure location, and thus changed the national capital. And it made a national hero of Commodore Perry, and led to the New England Navy’s adoption of Admiral as an official rank, a rank which for the first five years had only one occupant...


[1] OTL Austin, Texas. ITTL, named for Peter Buell Porter, the “Father of Texas”, who moved into Texas in 1820 along with the rest of the founding families.

[2] Similar to what Forey did in Mexico in OTL. Then, he was unfortunate enough to get rebuked by Napoleon III for it. Here, at least he isn’t being similarly told off by the U.S. forces, although he’s still looked at strangely for it.


Decades of Darkness #32: The Descent Begins

Extracts from “Slaves, Serfs and Peons: Indenture in the Industrial Age”

By Michelle Davies

Hobson University

Eden [1], Kingdom of Australia.

(c) 1947 Eagle Publishing Company: Eden. Used with permission

To the contemporary reader, slavery is almost synonymous with the United States of America. Mention the word “slave” to an Australian on the street, and it usually conjures up a vision of a man bending over beneath a whip in a plantation in Mississippi or Cuba, or mining in Sonora or the Californias, or labouring in a steel mill in Virginia or Coahuila. This disguises the fact that even today, there are many forms of indenture within the United States: peonage, debt-bondage and slavery proper, to name but three. It is true that the increasing trend within the United States has been to reduce all of these varying forms of indenture to complete slavery, but nonetheless important distinctions remain...

The growth of slavery within the United States had an interrupted career. Slavery was legal in most states during the colonial era, but was abolished by many of them before or shortly after the First American Revolution. Indeed, many of the remaining slaveholding states viewed slavery as a necessary evil which would “someday” be abolished, although even then their hypocrisy was shown in their refusal to take any sort of steps to actually reduce it. Nonetheless, the change in attitudes toward slavery between, say, an American planter in 1810 and in 1850 is remarkable. In 1810, slavery was typically viewed as a necessary evil. By 1850, in most of the United States, it was seen as the only fit way to run a society. [2] There were notable exceptions to this trend, with some individuals opposing the practice, but their voices became increasingly drowned out in the clamour...

Of the factors which contributed to the increasing indenture rates within the USA, the War of 1833 and its aftermath was perhaps the most significant. The war influenced indenture in two ways, political and economic. The political factors are obvious to even a casual student of history. The increasingly strident anti-slavery rhetoric out of Britain and New England had provided the backdrop to these events, and the war brought them into stark relief. The British habit of seizing slaves as spoils of war and then freeing them did nothing to endear them to the Americans. Nor did the ongoing capture of slaving ships which lead to the nominal re-legalisation of the slave trade even before the end of the war – nominal since few or no slaves could be imported with the Royal Navy blockading most of the U.S. coast. But others have analysed these political factors in great detail (e.g. Kolker, 1937; Bunterschladt, 1941) and there is little need to discuss them further.

The economic contributors to the growth of slavery are, I think, of greater importance. At a fundamental level, the War of 1833 consolidated and accelerated the growth of industrialised slavery. Prior to the war, the use of slaves in manufacturing had been relatively limited, partly due to the restricted number of slaves available, partly from competition from free labour, but mainly because the profitability of slave labour in industry was much lower than the profitability of agriculture, particularly cotton. This meant that the high slave prices for the limited slave population prevented the development of industrial slavery. Slave prices were unlikely to fall due to internal economic causes, since the ruling classes had too much capital invested in their existing slaves, and a reduction of slave prices would have been catastrophic for their investments. Pre-war attempts to reduce the price of slaves (principally by allowing slave importation) had generated considerable debate but had never had any practical chance of success.

However, the War of 1833 had considerable economic fallout. The ongoing raids and blockades caused a (temporary) crash of export-driven agriculture within the United States. From 1834 onwards, exports of agricultural products such as cotton were reduced by 90% along the East Coast states, and by over 50% along most of the Gulf Coast (Richards, 1927). Slave productivity in plantation agriculture – which was then by far the dominant use of indentured labour – was thus drastically reduced as the slaves were left mostly idle, with no opportunity to export their produce.

Yet the collapse of exports also led to increasing demand for internal manufacture. This included general manufactured imports, which could now no longer be obtained from New England and the United Kingdom, but particularly war-related industries and other ongoing construction. This increase in industrial output created a labour shortage, with increased production required but many of the able-bodied workers serving on the frontlines. This labour shortage, combined with the surplus slaves on plantations, led to increasing numbers of slaves being rented to the factory owners who were establishing and expanding their operations in Virginia, the Carolinas and Kentucky.

The demanded for indentured labour continued to increase throughout the war and afterward. While the end of the war temporarily alleviated the labour shortage, the rapid expansion of industry in the key northern areas of the United States – the first parts of the country to industrialise – led to an increased demand for cheap slave labour. Given that many of the existing slaves were returning to plantation agriculture, the obvious response was to import more slaves. The political clout of the northern states, and the growing demand for slaves in the booming southwestern territories – particularly the Texases, Washington, Arkansaw and Missouri – led to the restoration of the slave trade becoming a viable proposition. In the peace negotiations after the war, the importation of “people already in bondage” from Cuba or Brazil had been grudgingly granted, on the basis that U.S. slaveowners tended to be more humane in their treatment of slaves than the others, especially Brazil. (This was true in the 1830s, at least). But the economic realities meant that importing slaves from Africa itself was now the desired option. At first, this involved the transhipment of unfortunate Africans through Cuba, but even this was not enough to satisfy the growing demand for indentured labour.

Certainly, other attempts to alleviate the labour shortage were tried, since not all in the United States favoured an increase of slave labour, especially in the border states. But there were few other options. The United States’ industrialisation was continuing, and indeed received government incentives to allow it to flourish. The war had shown the necessity of industrial production, and the ongoing competition with New England and the British Empire after the war required that it continue. But, naturally, this required additional labour. The only realistic alternative would have been immigration, but the United States received relatively few immigrants. With New England, the United Kingdom and later Canada retreating behind their own customs union with high tariff walls, most of the immigrants from Europe went to these areas, and also to the burgeoning colonies in what was then Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The relative trickle of migrants to the United States meant that voluntary migration was insufficient to match the demand for labour. The only alternative that could be sought was involuntary immigration...


[1] OTL Auckland, New Zealand

[2] Much like the comparable shift in attitudes between 1810 and 1850 in the Southern states of the OTL USA, only more so.


Decades of Darkness #33: The Year Of Revolutions

From The Boston Wanderer

27 January 1946

Lest anyone think that the current spate of revolutions is anything new, they can find something to assuage their minds in our History in Review centre-page spread. This will show them that both successful and unsuccessful revolutions are nothing new.

History in Review: 1834

When most people today are asked about 1834, the usual response is something like “That was the second year of the War of 1833, wasn’t it?” Certainly, this year is most noted for being part of that war. And in that year, the most famous event was surely the burning of the U.S capital, Washington D.C., for the second time. Yes, for those of you who weren’t paying attention to our review last week, the United States was not always ruled from Columbia...

One year, four revolutions. Two successes, two failures. But even the failed revolutions had major importance. Without the abortive Pennsylvanian revolution, New England might have been conquered by the USA over a century ago...


Excerpts from “John Brown: Father of The Velvet Underground”

A biography written by Josiah A. Quigley,

(c) 1947 Taylor Press

Brigham: Nephi Free State

The self-styled “Third American Revolution” was a dismal failure. Despite the gallant actions of John Brown, and the support of his fellow abolitionists such as Elijah Pennypacker, the entire secession effort was doomed before it began. Quite simply, there was never enough popular support for a successful revolution. A bare majority of the Pennsylvania Legislature had approved a call to petition Congress for secession, as was permitted under the U.S. Constitution, but this legal avenue was swept away by the risings under Brown and Pennypacker.

Quite simply, Brown failed to gauge correctly the public mood. He may have been correct in his belief that the majority of Pennsylvanians opposed slavery, but he was sadly mistaken into translating that belief into a false assumption that they would rise up against the United States. Relatively few Pennsylvanians were interested in being labelled as traitors and secessionists. Indeed, Governor Joseph Ritner – himself a vocal opponent of slavery – signed the instrument of secession, but he was reported to have done so only with the mob already baying at the door. But the fierce opposition to secession can be judged from the speed with which the western counties of Pennsylvania counter-seceded back to the USA, and the former Pennsylvania lieutenant governor became Governor George Wolf of Westylvania...

And thus, from the broad perspective, it can well be asked what the Pennsylvanian Rebellion achieved. For Pennsylvania, it gained very little. Within a few months, even the most pro-secessionist counties had been reconquered. John Brown lingered on for a while with the Velvet Underground, but this never amounted to more than a fringe movement. For Governor Joseph Ritner, it nearly cost him his life and it did cost him his career, as he lived out the rest of his life in exile in New England. And it ensured that any talk of secession in the United States, even legal secession, was condemned as treason. So, of course, was abolitionism.

Indeed, the main benefits of the Pennsylvania Rebellion were for New England, not Pennsylvania. The “Third American Revolution” has been cited as a frequent turning point by fools, U.S. patriots and “alternate historians” – these often being the same person – as a major historical turning point, with arguments such as “the United States would have conquered New England, if not for the treachery of Pennsylvania”. Naturally, such arguments do not hold up. The United States’ war objective was never to conquer New England, merely the Michigan Country and parts of New Jersey and New York. And while the rebellion did force the United States to withdraw from most of its early conquests, leaving them holding only the key border forts along the Lowell-Gallatin Line, it did not mean much. Britain was always going to give its full aid to New England once the other distractions were dealt with, and thus a complete conquest of New England was never a realistic option.

In short, the Pennsylvanian Rebellion was a noble but doomed attempt to free the Pennsylvanians from the moral corruption and incipient ideology of Matthism [1] which was soon to engulf the United States. But it came too late. If Pennsylvania had seceded during the Second American Revolution, they would have been freed. But they lingered too long. Even in the 1830s, the United States, while not yet capable of forcing a decisive victory against New England and her allies, was able to hold onto any reluctant parts of her own territory. All the Rebellion achieved was to add another state to the United States, and to give John Brown the opportunity to lead a long, but futile, resistance.


From The Boston Wanderer

27 January 1946

By “George Stringe” [2]

“The French change governments more often than Australians change mistresses.” -- Attributed to Clement Churchill

As revolutions go, the French Revolution of 1834 was relatively bloodless. Charles X found out he was sitting on a rather slippery throne, and the only grip he could find was that of the British blockade closing on the French economy. The December Monarchy replaced the Restored Monarchy which had replaced the First French Empire which had replaced the First Republic which had replaced the Old Bourbon Dynasty which had replaced the Valois Dynasty. And the December Monarchy would in turn be replaced by the Second Republic, which would in turn be replaced by the Second French Empire, and so on, and so on, et cetera, et cetera. You get the idea.

The French had thus changed governments, again. It’s doubtful whether anyone on the mainland of Europe even noticed. The British noticed long enough to sign a peace with France – as they had a habit of doing every five years or so, and then changing their minds – give back most of the French colonies they had captured that year, and call it a draw. The Americans noticed, of course, since they now had no allies in their little war, and they were rather unhappy about that. But then, Americans are never happy except when they’re unhappy, and thus they should have been really happy. And that’s about it for the December Revolution, really.


Excerpts from “Misfits of History”

(c) 1947 by Emily Vasquez

Cline Publishing Company

Habana, West Cuba: United States of America

Chapter 6. Belgium: A Nation That Never Was

The non-existent nation of Belgium is another of the misfits of history. The region has been dominated by many cultures, having been Celtic, Roman, Germanic, French, Dutch, Spanish, Austrian, and Dutch (again) over the centuries leading up to its formation. The name has ancient roots, but was only considered the name of a nation, rather than a region, for two brief periods during the attempted Belgian Revolutions...

There were two attempted Belgian Revolutions. The first, abortive revolution took place in 1830, inspired by various French-nationalists, but fell apart after receiving little support from France. The second, much more serious revolution broke out in 1834. For a time the self-proclaimed Republic of Belgium [3] occupied a considerable stretch of territory, including Luxembourg and much of the southern Netherlands. However, William I did not permit his nation to break apart so easily. Despite the protests of Britain and France, both of whom were too busy with their own war to do much, the German Confederation marshalled its forces to suppress the revolt. Prussia and Austria both sent substantial armed forces, eager to stop the spread of republicanism, and the other members of the German Confederation sent symbolic contributions of troops.

Thus, the Second Belgian Revolution came to a bitter end. It might have been much worse for the revolutionaries – William I is said to have been keen to deliver strong punishment – but the German Diet intervened. Their troops had been committed to support the Netherlands throne, not to be used as executioners. Belgium was removed from the map of Europe after its brief appearance, but its long-term effects were important in both the Netherlands and the other German powers...


From “The New Oxford Historical Dictionary”

(c) 1949 New Oxford University,

Liverpool [Melbourne], Kingdom of Australia

Used with permission.

DE ITURBIDE, Agustin (1783-1835). Emperor of Mexico (1822-1835). De Iturbide had a spectacular military career, first fighting for the royalists and later against them, during the Mexican War of Independence. After Mexico received its independence, he was proclaimed as the first Emperor of Mexico. His reign was initially precarious, but bolstered by nationalistic feeling after the European invasions (1823-1825). As Emperor Agustin, he ruled over Mexico for twelve years of peace, before General Santa Anna and others instigated the Mexican Revolution of 1834. During the civil war which followed, imperial forces suffered a series of defeats. De Iturbide abdicated in 1835, and attempted to flee the country for refuge in the United States, but was betrayed and executed.


[1] TTL equivalent to Social Darwinism. See DoD #29, footnote 1.

[2] The pseudonym adopted by a virulent satirist who corresponded with a variety of newspapers and other publications. Real name unknown.

[3] Internal Belgian (and Dutch) politics have changed considerably from OTL during the 1810s-1830s, mostly due to the inclusion of some German-speaking areas in the United Kingdom of the Netherlands. One effect of these changes was a greater distrust of monarchy than in OTL, and thus Belgium was initially proclaimed as a republic. It probably would have become a constitutional monarchy soon if it had survived, however.


Decades of Darkness #34: Peace or Pieces?

25 June 1835

Federal House,

Hartford, Connecticut

Republic of New England

Since his inauguration, President Oakley had taken to keeping a large map hanging on the wall opposite his desk. The map showed New England, the Canadas, and most of the United States, except for their Texan acquisitions which no-one had yet recognised, but which in practical terms had become a fait accompli since the Mexican Revolution.

The map depicted known American forces in blue, British-Canadian forces in red, and New England forces in green. Major battles were depicted in black. While the map was probably inaccurate, it showed the general tide of events. Black pins dominated the entire arc of the map between Lake Ontario and New Jersey. The war there remained indeterminate, with the U.S. forces back in Buffalo after the short-lived Pennsylvanian rebellion. The northwestern theatre showed a wide range of battles. The U.S. still held most of the land, but was unable to consolidate its control with the British controlling the Great Lakes. And the eastern seaboard of the United States showed a series of black dots from Baltimore to Ballington. [1]

“But where does all this end?” Oakley asked himself. The war had gone on for more than two years, with an eternal list of battles, men dead and maimed, and with no sign of stopping. Even with the French abandoning the war, and with the British starting to send across more troops with Ireland mostly quelled, the United States would not give up. And they had both more men than New England and the willingness to use them.

“What does the United States want from this war?” Oakley asked himself. The United States kept on fighting even though it was clear that they would never conquer New England, or even a large part of it. It seemed that, most of all, what the United States wanted from this war was a way not to lose. They had never forgotten the War of 1811, and one of the main reasons they had started this war was to avenge that defeat. They would never give up until they had something which they could present as a victory.

“Maybe we could give them that,” Oakley said, in sudden understanding. Not the crushing victory which the United States craved, but something which they could still present as a successful outcome of the war.

Oakley turned his gaze back to the map. It still showed the old borders of the Indian Confederation, running in a line roughly halfway between the Great Lakes, the Mississippi, and the Ohio. The Indian Confederation was gone – no-one doubted that much. Conceding that would be a simple part of any peace negotiations... yet it still left open the question of who would have all that land afterwards. The United States wanted all of it, but to concede it to them would be disastrous. And the United States could not be given any of the Michigan Country, no matter how much they craved it. “But would it be possible to concede some of the Indian lands to them?” Maybe, just maybe, that would be enough to secure peace.


17 September 1835

Stockholm, Kingdom of Sweden

Visiting Stockholm took U.S. Secretary of State Henry Clay back more than twenty years, to the last time he had tried to secure peace between the United States, Britain, and New England. At least Stockholm’s weather was better than St Petersburg, even if the negotiations dragged onto winter as he feared they might. There were more promising signs this time than in the last negotiation. Then, the United States had been keen on prolonging them. And both sides had continued major battles while the diplomats tried to talk, which had made achieving peace much more difficult. This time, at least, President Jackson had given orders for major military actions to stop, which left both sides encamped on their borders with raids and skirmishes.

Clay felt grateful that both sides had finally arranged a venue where they could negotiate with a mediator they trusted. The search had been a difficult one. France had been ruled out due to its involvement in the war; the German powers had lost credibility with the British due to their intervention in the revolts within the Netherlands; and Russia, the old mediator, was still engrossed in its war with the Turks. Spain would have been Clay’s ideal choice in most circumstances, but that nation remained bogged down in its own civil war. Sweden was just about the only candidate left.

“Think we can win peace here?” Clay asked, turning to his fellow emissary, David Crockett.

“If the British want it,” Crockett said, with an offhand shrug.

“New England--”

“Doesn’t count for anything,” Crockett said. “If the British packed up and left North America today, we could dictate whatever terms we wanted to the Yankee Rebels tomorrow. Worry about the British, and let the Yankees worry about themselves.”

Clay nodded. “And let the Yankees worry about the Swedes, too. They are--” He stopped speaking abruptly, and gestured across the dock. “I do believe that’s Harrison Otis.”

Crockett looked blank.

“One of the emissaries at the last treaty, although Strong and Lowell did most of the negotiating. Why would President Oakley send such an old man to Stockholm?”

Crockett said, “To get him away from Hartford, perhaps?”

Clay said. “Perhaps. Would you like to meet him?” King Karl XIV was meant to mediate the formal negotiations, but Clay saw no harm in meeting Otis beforehand. He recalled that Otis had always been much more pleasant than his counterparts, especially John Lowell.

When Crockett nodded, Clay led the way over to Otis. After the usual round of polite introductions and insincere good wishes, Clay said, “What do you think of Sweden so far?”

Otis said, “I should have expected you Americans to wrangle having a slaveholding country host the negotiations.” [2]

Clay said, “Where else would you have us go? Denmark refused. The only other civilised nation left is Portugal, and they keep more slaves than Sweden. Unless you want to try submitting our mediation to the Son of Heaven in China, perhaps.”

Otis grimaced. “Point taken.” He still didn’t sound very happy about it, though.

Clay said, “But I do expect the Swedish King to help us in our search for peace.”

Otis studied him for a moment, then said, “You genuinely mean that.”

“Of course,” Clay said. “I thought this war foolish from the start. Too much blood has been shed to little gain. I would rather we make peace, and go back to hating each other across the border instead of hating each other for crossing the border.”

“Well said!” Otis exclaimed. “I think, sir, that these negotiations will go well indeed.” He thrust out his hand.

Clay shook it, but he could not help noticing that Crockett looked less than happy in the background. It looked as if Crockett knew something about President Jackson’s wishes which had not been passed on to Clay. That would not be the first time Jackson had done so. Clay silently wished that this time, peace would be easier to find than his last negotiations.


28 November 1835

Mr President Andrew Jackson.


It is my unfortunate duty to inform you that the Stockholm negotiations proceed at a most dilatory pace, and that our talks have come close to breaking down on several occasions. A great many issues remain outstanding, and I shall enumerate only the most salient ones for your consideration.

Firstly, the status of the former Indian Confederation lands remains uncertain. Both Britain and New England claim large parts of those lands. The New Englanders have shown some small willingness to concede a shift of boundaries along the Illinois and Indiana borders, but they continue to demand that the United States abandon all claim to most of those lands. The same uncertainty remains for our extreme northern border with Upper Canada, which dispute still remains unsettled from the time of the last war.

Secondly, the city of Detroit, and the northwestern corner of Ohio which was conceded to the British during the last war, continues to be a severe impediment to peace. As per your instructions, I have attempted to gain it for the United States, but I am unhopeful of our success in doing so.

Thirdly, both Britain and New England continue to insist upon their right to interfere in our own domestic affairs. They demand that we repeal our legislation to trade in Negro slaves, and insist on their own right to capture any ship suspected of transporting slaves. To show some flexibility in the negotiations, we have indicated that only trafficking of persons already in bondage is legal under American law, and thus that the prevention of trafficking of slaves from Africa itself will be a matter of no concern to us. Yet the British continue to insist that this is insufficient, and that all transport of slaves should cease. The British and New Englanders have also shown no regard for our own concern about fugitive slaves who have fled the United States, and refuse to include any provisions either for returning said slaves or for compensation to their lawful owners.

Some matters have fortunately become settled, however. New England has agreed to grant recognition to our acquisition of Texas and Coahuila, and convinced Britain to do likewise, in exchange for our agreeing to withdraw from Buffalo and our other gains in New York. Absent major military success along the New England border, I suspect that we shall have to renounce our claims to any of these former lands of the United States. We await your instructions on how best to proceed on this and the above matters.

If I may be permitted an afterword, sir, I would mention an issue which has been of concern here in Sweden. Some of the Stockholm traders have expressed great displeasure over the continued depredations of pirates within the Caribbean. This is also a matter of concern to our own commerce in this area. I believe that we could acquire much goodwill throughout Europe if we were to rid the Caribbean of these pirates, once the war is concluded [3]. It would also have benefits to our commerce and in rebuilding our navy.

I remain, sir, your obedient servant,

Henry Clay


From The Stirling Daily Mirror [4]

18 December 1946

Headline: The Daily Mirror Circulation Reaches 1,000,000!

On This Day: Today, one hundred and eleven years ago, in Stockholm, Sweden, negotiations broke down for peace between Britain, New England and the United States. Which, at the time, also meant that the Australian colonies were at war with the United States. The War of 1833 had been raging for two and a half years, but although both sides wanted peace, neither was willing to concede to the others’ demands for lands and over slavery. The various powers reluctantly returned to the battlefield...


[1] OTL Miami.

[2] Due to a different outcome of the Congress of Vienna, Sweden ended up with Guadeloupe. Outright abolition there proved too difficult, so the Swedish government is currently negotiating a program of gradual emancipation. The expense has delayed it considerably, however, as has the profitability of the sugar exports.

[3] The U.S. Navy has not yet created a West India Squadron in this TL, and thus pirates remain a menace in the Caribbean. (The British have made some attempts to eradicate them, but it has not been a major priority).

[4] Stirling is OTL Perth, named in TTL for Captain James Stirling who explored the Swan River and founded the colony. It was not originally named for him, but was rechristened after his death.


Decades of Darkness #35: The Piece Of The Board

Extracts from “Stars and Stripes Redundant: The War of 1833”

(c) 1947 William H. King,

Hooper & Son Publishing Company.

Detroit: New England

1836: The War Without Battles

The breakdown of the Stockholm negotiations initiated the beginning of one of the stranger phases of nineteenth-century warfare: a war without major combat. Both sides had returned only reluctantly to the battlefield. It was as if they did not want war, but did not want peace either...

While there were a great number of skirmishes and naval raids throughout the first half of 1836, neither side brought themselves to a decisive battle. The United States sent probing armies into New York and New Jersey, but avoided pitched battle and withdrew when their supply lines were threatened. The Great Lakes theatre formed a series of small engagements without notable battles, as both sides manouevred far from their lines of supply.

For, fundamentally, both sides were tired by the war. The United States had definitely suffered the most: its agricultural industries had been devastated, and increased manufacturing made up only part of the shortfall. But New England and British North America suffered not much less, and even the United Kingdom was bearing an increasingly high cost for the war. Both sides also tended to avoid major combat since a decisive defeat would cause problems when next they returned to the negotiating table, as everyone expected they would.

Two events served to change the “War Without Battles”, or the “Cold War”, as it was called in the USA. The first was the Canadian Rebellion, the second was President Jackson’s decision to seek a third term...


Excerpt from “Among The Ravens: The War of 1833 and its Historical Context”

(c) 1946 by Martin van Buren VI

Boston University Press

Boston: New England

Chapter 17: The Canadian Rebellions

The Canadian Rebellion, or rather Rebellions, had no realistic chance of seizing Canada. Despite the near-simultaneous uprisings in both Upper and Lower Canada, and the substantial pro-American sentiment in parts of Upper Canada, neither rebellion had enough popular support to threaten a direct change of government. It certainly caused much consternation in Britain, and is believed to have been a contributor to the election of a Whig government, with calls for reform both within Great Britain and in the colonies, particularly Ireland and British North America. And, indeed, the reforms would be conducted after the war.

In the short-term, however, the Rebellion caused much internal confusion, but no more. The split in the Family Compact between Beverly Robinson and the Protestants on one hand, and the Catholics under Greenfield and MacDonnell on the other, added to the dispute. Not surprisingly, the Catholics had never been in favour of the Halifax Pact, given what was then staunch anti-Catholicism in New England, and they found much common cause with the patriotes in Lower Canada. But while the would-be revolutionaries had a certain amount of sympathy for the United States, and wanted the war to end quickly, they had no desire to become part of the USA, and thus the Rebellion had little impact on the military course of the war. However, it did give the United States renewed hope to keep fighting, a sentiment which had been fading since the Battle of Washington...


17 July 1836

Fredericksburg, Virginia

United States of America

“A third term?” Senator Hugh White, President pro tempore of the Senate, asked. “Is Jackson insane?”

That last question was, in fact, one that Henry Clay had asked himself many times over the years. President Jackson had often seemed like a man whose grasp of reality was purely accidental. And yet, he was the President, and despite the bungling which this war had produced, remained a popular President. “He wants to stand. We cannot change that.”

White said, “The question is, what should we tell the convention in a few months?”

Clay shrugged. “Long live President Jackson, perhaps.”

“That sounds ominously close to the truth,” White replied. “The Patriots speak of “King” Jackson. If he seeks a third term, we could well end up with President Hayne. Do you want that?”

Clay said, “It may not be that bad. Jackson can already claim to have added a star to the flag. Especially if we keep repeating his promise to resign once the threat of war is over.”

White said, “Then he will find a new war afterwards, even if we make peace. Whatever will keep him in office.”

And you out of office, Clay mentally added. White had always seen himself as the natural heir to Jackson. He badly wanted the Democratic nomination for himself. As did Clay, come to that, but politics had taught him the importance of biding his time. There would be other elections, and he did not want to be remembered as the man who had tried to unseat Jackson. “Jackson will not budge,” Clay said. “It would be best for the Democratic Party if we supported him, I think.”

And then we pray that Jackson gets himself re-elected, Clay thought. He did not know how that would turn out. In peacetime, any politician who sought a third term would have been lucky to escape being merely laughed at. But wartime was another matter altogether. Jackson still looked as if he was winning – well, not losing – the war. Would that be enough?


Excerpt from “Among The Ravens: The War of 1833 and its Historical Context”

(c) 1946 by Martin van Buren VI

Boston University Press

Boston: New England

Chapter 19: The Battle of New Orleans

For all the much-celebrated repeating of the Battle of New Orleans, especially among American historians, it was a battle which could easily have gone to either side. If the British commander Lieutenant General Harry Smith had been a little more careful in staging an assault, if the First Texan Volunteer Cavalry under Travis had taken longer to arrive, or if the bullet which felled General Coffee had gone a few metres to the left and killed the then-Colonel Jefferson Davis instead, then the course of the war might have been quite different.

As events turned out, of course, the battle became noted as a major American victory. In purely military terms, it was only a marginal victory to the USA. The British retired from the field and returned to transports. They could certainly have continued the battle. But it had become clear that the U.S. forces regrouped around Jefferson Davis, who hastily adopted the brevet rank of Brigadier General even if this was not precisely in line with military formality, it became clear that these forces would not be easily displaced... and thus the British withdrew. The plan for a cheap end to the war by strangling U.S. commerce flowing through the Mississippi was put on hold.

And, as with all such events, there were several unintended consequences. The demonstration that the war was winnable probably swayed enough votes to President Jackson to gain him a small but decisive advantage, and in turn a large majority of the electoral votes. It also made a national hero of Jefferson Davis, whose brevet rank was quickly confirmed...

Chapter 20: The Negotiating Table: Round Two

The re-election of President Jackson, surprisingly, was quickly followed by a return to negotiations. The U.S. Army’s push into New Jersey in late December was halted, and that seemed to be enough for Jackson. The war was now put on hold again as both sides returned to negotiations, this time under the auspices of Dom Pedro, Emperor of Brazil and King of Portugal...


Decades of Darkness #36: God Save The King, Because No-One Else Will

17 August 1837,

Buckingham Palace, [1]

London, England

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland

Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, 3rd Marquess of Lansdowne, Prime Minister of Great Britain and Ireland, and First Lord of the Treasury, had known several moments of trepidation since he had been asked by King William to form a government. Most of those had been over the seemingly-eternal struggle on the North American continent. That was mostly over these days, with British and allied forces making ground on most of the major fronts, but now he had a new challenge. A new king had taken the crown of the United Kingdom. A king whose character was uncertain, but who might be less inclined to accept the reform agenda which the late King William had promised that he would help Lansdowne implement once the war was resolved. [2]

Lansdowne was ushered in to meet King Edward VII for his first private audience [3]. His first glance confirmed that he was dealing with a monarch who would be a handful. The young king – Edward had barely passed his eighteenth birthday – had abandoned any pretence of sitting on a throne, and had placed himself behind an impressively large oak desk, with a stack of papers to one side. Here, it seemed, was a monarch who wanted to rule, not merely officiate. That could mean trouble; probably not on the same scale as George III, but trouble nonetheless.

Still, he had to admit that Edward VII looked like the part of a monarch. Dressed in a white shirt with a blue sash, and a simple but elegant overcoat, he resembled his late uncle. His clothing, in fact, was quite reminiscent. No doubt deliberately.

“Ah, Lord Lansdowne. Welcome, welcome,” the king said, and gestured to a chair. “Sit down, please.”

A most unusual form of royal protocol, Lansdowne thought. But then the king no doubt wanted to put him on edge. “Thank you, Your Majesty,” Lansdowne said.

The king turned to the top-most document on his desk. “I have here the proposed peace treaty with the United States of America. It seems to be quite favourable to British interests – and those of the New Englanders,” Edward added dismissively. “The proposed border is just as we would wish it, even beyond the Great Lakes.”

“Yes, sire. The Americans have been willing to concede much, claiming only the southern portions of Tecumseh’s old lands. And wanting recognition for their Mexican gains, but that was easily granted.”

The king said, “So, why have we not yet signed a treaty and put an end to this war?”

Lansdowne had to stop himself taking a deep breath. Sure enough, the new king was going to be an upstart. Young, and looking to make his mark on the world, if Lansdowne judged him right. “Viscount Palmerston [4] has been in close communication with our envoys in Lisbon. He reports that the problem is extra clauses which the United States wants added to the treaty.”

The king frowned. “Clauses pertaining to slave-trafficking and holding of Negroes in bondage, no doubt.”

“In exchange for generosity over the border, they want protection for their right to import slaves from other slaveholding nations, the end to the seizure of their ships which practice that abominable trade in human misery, and the return of any of their slaves who escape to our North American possessions.”

The king said, “All harsh clauses, especially the last. But is refusing to concede them worth returning to the battlefield? It was concern over this issue – and New England’s border, which is now settled – which stopped us making peace in Stockholm two years past. If we refuse this, shall we face another two years of expensive war?”

Phrased that way, Lansdowne did not know how to answer the question. Slavery was an abomination against mankind, he had always thought, and the practice still lingered within the Empire. That would be attended to once the war was over... but it still left many more men in bondage. “We want to stop them trafficking in slaves.”

“And so we can – between Africa and the New World. But we still allow, within limits, the trade to Cuba, Puerto Rico and Brazil. At least the Americans do not want to bring in more slaves from Africa. And they claim that their slaves are treated more humanely than those in the other countries.”

“That is definitely true of Brazil,” Lansdowne conceded, reluctantly. “But we encourage them to do more... and slavery must be stopped.”

“So it shall be, in time,” the king said. “But the war needs to be stopped now.”

Lansdowne was quiet for a long moment. He could refuse the king’s request, and resign from government. But if he did that, then the Tories would be back in authority again, and that would set the course of reform back by another generation. If not worse. “It shall be, then,” Lansdowne said.

As he left the audience, Lansdowne decided that the parlimentary reform act he had in mind would have to have some strict limits on the power of the monarch. Edward VII had to be stopped before he could do further damage. But in the meantime, he had to prepare instructions to be sent to Lisbon, so that peace could finally be declared.


1 October 1837

San Antonio, Texas-Coahuila Territory

United States of America

General Peter Buell Porter had tasted the bitterness of defeat once before in his life, when the United States had been torn in half and the New York he had loved in his youth had been thrust into an unnatural union with New England and, in practical terms, with the British. But this time the only bitterness in his mouth was from the mescal he was drinking, and this was being drunk in celebration.

“To peace and to victory,” Porter said, and his compatriots raised their glasses in salute. The victory was less complete than he had hoped for, with most of the Old Northwest going back to the British and to their Yankee cats-paws. But the Indian Confederation had been broken, some of its lands regained, and now the United States stretched to the Rio Grande and beyond.

“We have a new frontier,” Porter murmured. In his youth, the northwest of New York had been the frontier, and he and his fellow Americans had expanded into the emptiness. That frontier had been cut off. But now, as he looked west and south, he realised that there was a new frontier. A large, empty land to the west, stretching all the way to the Pacific. And to the south there was an inferior race who had already shown that they could be defeated by a handful of American patriots. What would happen if the United States sent a complete army into Mexico?


[1] This had just become the London residence of the House of Brunswick, as it was in OTL. It was much less magnificent than today.

[2] There has as yet been no Reform Act in Britain, and thus the monarch has somewhat more power than in OTL, although not, realistically, all that much.

[3] The child who in OTL would have been Queen Victoria was born male in TTL, and has a distinctly different character.

[4] The Foreign Secretary in TTL as well as OTL, although he started later in the role in TTL.


Decades of Darkness #37: Shooting A Mangum

24 January 1847

The Knoxville Register


It is our most solemn duty to report that President Willie P. Mangum, who has lain near death for the last week, has died. He lingered for some time after the shooting, but in the end the two gunshot wounds he suffered at the hands of the Negro fanatic were beyond his ability to overcome. He is survived by his wife Anne, his three sons, and two daughters.

The city has had some days to become used to the prospect, with the late President lingering near death for so long, but this will still come as a grave shock to all citizens of the United States. We are sure that people of all political persuasions will mourn his passing, not just his own Patriot Party, but also all his fellow Americans. Now the people of the United States must look ahead, to what uncertain outcome awaits us. Our great country has lost presidents before, but never one who died through violence.

Newly inaugurated President Lewis Cass has called for calm on the streets of Knoxville, and has ordered the National Guard [1] onto the streets to protect the city against the anti-black riots which have raged since Mangum’s shooting. It is hoped that this will put an end to the disturbances, which have been most disastrous to property. Some of Knoxville’s great magnates have reported that they have lost a total of thirty-seven slaves during the riot; loyal servants who had the misfortune to be mistaken for free Negroes, of whom an unknown number have been repaid for the death of the President at the hands of one of their compatriots.

In his opening address, President Cass heaped praise on his predecessor, and condemned all forms of politically-inspired murder. The new President said, “Centuries ago, our forebears fled Europe to escape the tyranny of religious wars and persecution. That eruption of religious wars has already spread to the Americas, with the uprising of the Nephites. Now, political murder has followed us across the Atlantic, and it is a most unwelcome immigrant.”

President Cass pledged his support for the policies that the late President Mangum had proposed, including the continued sponsorship of migrants to Liberia, [2] of honouring the results of natural justice, of supporting the rights of individual states while allowing for central authority, and the expansion of manufacture alongside that of agriculture. In terms of foreign policy, President Cass stated... (continued on page 4).


17 February 1847

The New White House

Knoxville, District of Columbia

United States of America

How, Henry Clay wondered, should he talk to a man who had just become president through the most tragic and bizzare of circumstances? A man who probably felt that he should not hold the presidency at all? Especially, Clay suspected, since President Cass would look upon him awkwardly as a man who had also been denied the presidency too many times.

Three presidents had now died in office during Clay’s lifetime, but the first two had been of natural causes. With this one, Clay wondered what he could say. Fortunately, although he acted as President pro tempore of the Senate, often these days he had been able to get away with saying nothing. It was a useful tactic when dealing with such a contentious issue as the Free Negro Question, which bedeviled even Clay’s own attempts to compromise... and which had just become so much more tangled. And now, since he had been invited to consult the new President along with Senator Robert B. Rhett, of all people, it gave him an idea of the kind of policies which President Cass was considering.

When they were ushered into the President’s office, and after the usual polite greetings, President Cass said, “Tell me, gentleman... what do you think of my position at this moment?”

A very loaded question, Clay thought. And extremely unfair of Cass to ask it of him at this time. Clay chose a safe answer. “I think, sir, that most actions you take with foreign policy will be cautiously welcomed from around the world. Think of the condolences which we have received already. From Emperor Dom Pedro II of Brazil [3], King James I of Canada, from President-elect Martin Van Buren of New England, President Simon Bolivar of Colombia. And even from President Santa Anna of Mexico and King Edward VII of the United Kingdom.”

Cass shrugged. “Foreign policy matters little to me except with two issues: Mexico and importation [4]. No amount of sympathy from Mexico will gain us what we need from the Mexicans [5]. And while the British have finally recognised our purchase of Guadeloupe during the Pirate Wars – only five years too late – and settled border tensions with the recent treaty [6], they will never relent over the issue of importation.”

“Perhaps, sir...” Clay began, but Cass held up a hand.

“This is dancing around the issue,” the President said. “The real question is, what should we be doing with the Negros?”

Senator Rhett said, “This brutal assassination confirms what I have been saying for the last decade. The free black man has no place in American society. Let him return to his homeland in Africa, or return to bondage. He has no other choice.”

Cass said, “The free Negro has an awkward position in our society; with that I agree. But to return him to bondage is difficult; having tasted freedom, the black man does not willingly relinquish it.”

Rhett said, “Free black men from Africa have accepted slavery here; so free black men here can do the same.”

Clay said, “But it would be easier, and better, I feel, to return the free black men to Liberia.” The transportation of free black men to Liberia had gone well. Clay preferred to see them in Liberia bringing civilization to their heathen brethren than causing trouble within the United States. Especially with the use of transportation for black men convicted of crimes such as vagrancy [7]; their chances of survival were much better in a harsh term in prison in, say, South Carolina, West Florida or Mississippi.

“Very expensive to transport so many people,” President Cass said. He coughed.

Clay nodded. The prohibitive cost of mass transportation had been an important part in Mangum’s debates before his assassination. Given the current attitudes in the United States, Congress might actually pass an act approving it now. But the cost might dampen their enthusiasm soon enough.

Rhett said, “Letting them go to Canada or New England would be better.”

Clay said, “If either nation really wanted them. The Canadians will take a few, but the New Englanders simply do not want black men in their country.” Any more than we want freed ones here. It was illegal to free a slave without transportation in a broad swathe of states from Virginia to Georgia, and many of the inland states were preparing to follow those examples. Given the current events, Clay thought such legislation almost inevitable.

“So, then, we must do what we can about the Negro,” Cass said. “Strong action is called for after the... tragic event.”

Rhett said, “Not just the blacks. I’ve heard reports from East Texas blaming Mexico, saying that Mexican agents used a free Negro as a scapegoat, and demanding punitive action against Mexico.”

“War, you mean,” Clay said. Relations between the United States and Mexico had never really settled since the end of the war, and had grown steadily worse with the increasing number of U.S. citizens moving into Mexico’s northern provinces.

Cass said, “I doubt such a claim would work. And I fear that our country is not yet ready for another great war. We have not been lax since the war’s end, but there is still more which could be done. After that, we can await a more suitable causus belli.” He frowned. “For now, the Negro must be dealt with... and dealt with, he shall be.”


[1] An institution which was formed considerably earlier in TTL than in OTL. As in OTL, the National Guard was a replacement and extension of the militia system. The National Guard replaced the old militias which used to be raised, but whose system of incompetent leadership was largely blamed for the U.S. failure to exploit its initial gains during the War of 1833. The National Guard acts as a potential defensive force, but its main duty is to capture would-be runaway slaves and, in practice, to harass free Negroes. Readers of the Knoxville Register would be feeling a strong sense of irony for the National Guard to be deployed to protect “black” men, not to persecute them.

[2] Needless to say, such sponsorship is not entirely voluntary.

[3] The same name as the leader of Brazil in OTL, but with a distinctly different (more conservative) personality.

[4] i.e. slave importation.

[5] In other words, those damn Mexicans will fight for their country instead of letting us grab as much of it as we want.

[6] Treaty of Detroit, which settled the border dispute over the boundary between the United States and the Oregon Country. In this treaty, New England mediated between the USA in what was then still British-ruled North America.

[7] Many free blacks found themselves accused of trivial crimes during this era, and faced transportation to Liberia. Vagrancy was a popular choice. It was speculated that Mangum’s approval of policies in this area where the main motivation for his assassin.


Decades of Darkness #38: The Sons Of Nephi

28 March 1828

Sunbury, Pennsylvania

United States of America

Few people were here to hear Joseph Smith, Jr. speak, despite his best-laid plans. The dreariness of the morning, with mist rolling in off the river might have had something to do with it. But despite the sparseness of the crowd, Smith had no intentions of changing the day. This was the time when he had been called into God’s work, to restore the priesthood which had so long been denied men, and he could not countenance even one more day’s delay. [1]

“Let me tell you, my friends, a short history of how we came to be here today, to witness the restoration of God’s church. He has chosen me to be his messenger on this world, and the time of this choosing stretched back many years...

“I was born in the Year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and five, on the twenty-third day of December, in the town of Sharon, Windsor county, State of Vermont, in what was then still part of these glorious United States. My father, Joseph Smith, Senior, left that State and moved to Pennsylvania when I was in my tenth year, or thereabouts.

“In the townships where we resided, after our removal to Pennsylvania, there was an unusual excitement on the subject of religion. It commenced with the Methodists, but soon became general among all the sects in that region. Great multitudes united themselves to the different religious parties, which created no small stir and division amongst the people, some crying, “Lo, here!” and others, “Lo, there!

“For, notwithstanding the great love which the converts to these different faiths expressed at the time of their conversion, and the great zeal manifested by the respective clergy, who were active in getting up and promoting this extraordinary scene of religious feeling, in order to have everybody converted, as they were pleased to call it, let them join what sect they pleased; yet when the converts began to file off, some to one party and some to another, it was seen that the seemingly good feelings of both the priests and the converts were more pretended than real; for a scene of great confusion and bad feeling ensued—priest contending against priest, and convert against convert; so that all their good feelings one for another, if they ever had any, were entirely lost in a strife of words and a contest about opinions.

“During this time of great excitement my mind was called up to serious reflection and great uneasiness; but though my feelings were deep and often poignant, still I kept myself aloof from all these parties, though I attended their several meetings as often as occasion would permit. In process of time my mind became somewhat partial to the Methodist sect, and I felt some desire to be united with them; but so great were the confusion and strife among the different denominations, that it was impossible for a person young as I was, and so unacquainted with men and things, to come to any certain conclusion who was right and who was wrong.

“In the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions, I often said to myself: What is to be done? Who of all these parties are right; or, are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right, which is it, and how shall I know it?

“While I was laboring under the extreme difficulties caused by the contests of these parties of religionists, I was one day reading the Epistle of James, first chapter and fifth verse, which reads: If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

“Never did any passage of Scripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart. I reflected on it again and again, knowing that if any person needed wisdom from God, I did; for how to act I did not know, and unless I could get more wisdom than I then had, I would never know; for the teachers of religion of the different sects understood the same passages of Scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible.

“At length I came to the conclusion that I must either remain in darkness and confusion, or else I must do as James directs, that is, ask of God. I at length came to the determination to “ask of God,” concluding that if he gave wisdom to them that lacked wisdom, and would give liberally, and not upbraid, I might venture.

“So, in accordance with this, my determination to ask of God, I retired to the forest to make the attempt. It was on the morning of a glorious, clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and nineteen. It was the first time in my life that I had made such an attempt, for amidst all my anxieties I had never as yet made the attempt to pray vocally.”

Some of those gathered by the Susquehanna River were beginning to look restless, but Smith pressed on with his account:

“After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction.

“But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction—not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being—just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.

“It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!

“My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)—and which I should join.

“I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong, and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”

Too many people in the already-thin crowd were looking away. Smith decided he needed to curtail his account.

“He again forbade me to join with any of them; and many other things did he say unto me, of which I cannot speak at this time. But he promised me that he would send his angels to speak to me again, and to give me further instruction. And the Lord’s words were truth – for how could they be otherwise – and He has sent me many of His messengers to show me some of the truth which was lost. And here, beside this very river, only a few days ago, He sent the angel John, the same that is called John the Baptist in the New Testament. The angel explained to myself and my brother in the Lord, Brigham Young [2] who stands beside me today, that he had come to ordain us un the ancient higher priesthood, the Priesthood of Melchizedek, which had been denied to men for so long, and which was now restored. So we have been ordained, and now, my brothers and sisters in the Lord, I call upon you to accept baptism into the renewed Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.”

The sound of people rushing forward came as music to Smith’s ears.


2 April 1832

Sandusky, Ohio,

United States of America

Only a few people were gathered in the room to hear the new direction for the Church. Joseph Smith, Jr, the Prophet himself, his wife Mary Ann [3], his brother Samuel Smith, Parley P. Pratt, David Whitmer, the three High Witnesses. And Brigham Young, who had been chosen among the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, but was the only one present. The others were already on missions throughout the United States and New England, and in time they were expected to go to the Canadas and Great Britain to reveal the Word of God. And now, Young found himself here to listen to... whether all their work had been in vain.

“We cannot stay here in Sandusky,” the Prophet said. He held a copy of the Testament in one hand, and a copy of the Book of Nephi in the other, as if weighing them.

Pratt said, “You told us that here is where we will build the kingdom of God on this world. Many of our followers are already gathering here, and more will follow. Must we tell them to move again?”

The Prophet said, “God has spoken to me again. The kingdom we are to build shall not dwell here. This shall be a place of fire and sword, not a place for our kingdom. This is a place where the struggles of men are coming. Our people must leave here before this time draws near.”

Young felt his eyes drawn to the northern wall. There were no windows there, but he could picture Lake Erie, and the British beyond it. Yes, war was likely to come, which he had known even before the Prophet foretold it.

Whitmer said, “We are to go west again?”

“West, for now,” the Prophet said. “After that... it will be up to the Lord.”


19 August 1845

Hamilton, Illinois

United States of America

Gray-clad National Guardsmen surrounded the remains of the Hamilton jailhouse. They gave Brigham Young angry looks as he walked past, but did no more. Young knew better than to return the looks. He had had little occasion to favour them over the years. The National Guard was ostensibly meant to maintain order and defend the United States in case of attack, but they had done nothing to protect the Saints during the persecutions of mobs which had driven them westward. They had done their best to arrive too late at this riot, too. The Prophet’s brother Hyrum had died in the jailhouse, and by all reports the Prophet had been fortunate – or blessed of God, more likely – to avoid the same fate. About the only thing the National Guard had right was their distrust of Negroes, the sons of Ham, who were denied entry into heaven. If only the Guardsmen cared about any crime besides escaped slaves, they might even make it possible to live within the United States.

“But now, we cannot,” Young said, to himself. It was time to leave the United States.

Brigham Young thought that he had learned much about the world and how it perceived the Saints during his missionary journeys, more than the Prophet and the leadership who had remained in Hamilton. He felt like Paul, who during the days of the early church who had taken his own missionary journeys while the old leadership of the church in Jerusalem, and cut off in their own small world, had tried to tell him what to do. Young had brought thousands to follow the truth which the Prophet revealed. But while the Prophet spoke with God, he did not speak with men enough. And this, Young thought, was now the problem. What would the Prophet want to do, now that he had come so close to death?

Sure enough, when he was ushered into the presence of Joseph Smith, Jr, the Prophet said, “We must flee the United States. They are not where we can build the kingdom of God. Now, we must go north.”

Young shook his head. North? That could only lead them into Wisconsin province, a land full of Indians and Frenchmen and Yankees, and which was part of Canada nowadays. And a land where the Saints would only find themselves caught between Britain and the United States the next time they fought a war, as they had done every generation. “That is not what the Lord has shown me.”

Smith gave Young a baleful look, but he ignored the Prophet’s glare. “Of late, I have been reading the words of our Lord. I remember the book of Genesis, in the twelfth chapter. “Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee. And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing.” I have heard these words, and I have prayed to the Lord, and I have felt a burning in my bones, telling me that this is right. We should go west, outside of the borders of the United States, and there we will find a land where the Lord will show us, and there we will become great.”

Smith shook his head. “That is not what the Lord has shown me. There is now a King in Canada, and within that land we can build our own kingdom”

Young said, “Within that land, the Lord has told me, we will find only ruination. If you must go there then, well, we must see...”


Selected Important Dates in North American History: 1845-1850

Taken from “The Compleat Textbook Series: Early American History”

By J. Edward Fowler (Principal Author)

Sydney, Kingdom of Australia.

(c) 1948 Eagle Publishing Company: Sydney. Used with permission


James I crowned as King of Canada.

Nephite settlers led by Joseph Smith, Jr. arrive in Dearborn [4], Wisconsin Province.


First Nephite settlers of Brigham Young’s faction found Salt Lake City.


[1] This speech is closely based on Joseph Smith, Jr’s account of the history of the Mormons, as published in “Pearl of Great Price” in OTL, but which has been modified to take into account the different circumstances of the ATL.

[2] Due to the changed circumstances of Joseph Smith’s migration to Pennsylvania, he met Brigham Young earlier. Oliver Cowdery has not, as of yet, heard of the *Mormons (called Nephites in TTL).

[3] Mary Ann Angell, who in OTL was Brigham Young’s second wife.

[4] OTL Chicago, Illinois.


Decades of Darkness #39: A New King For A New World

23 October 1844

Halifax, Nova Scotia

British North America

The sun rising on the 23rd of October meant disappointment to many people in Halifax, or so Robert Baldwin suspected. The enthusiastic outcrying of the Millerites had been influential as they spread up from New England, announcing yesterday as the day of the Second Coming. [1] Like any good member of the Church of England, Baldwin expected the Lord’s return some day. He just hadn’t expected it to be yesterday, or even today. Yet many of the people here did. He had been astonished on his arrival at Halifax at just how many Yankee accents he heard here. The city could almost be part of New England, he thought, after a tour of the streets.

But his thoughts did not focus long on the character of Halifax. He had come here, along with fellow representatives from Upper Canada, Lower Canada [2], Wisconsin, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia itself, to meet to discuss the prospect of uniting the provinces.

It was an important question, and one had long thought overdue. The colonies had long needed some form of union. The delegates from the maritime provinces had first met a couple of years ago to discuss the prospect, but had broken down their initial conference, for reasons which he had yet to find out. [3] And, as he had been advised yesterday, he had been invited to a private meeting before the main conference began, with Lord Henry Temple, the 3rd Viscount Palmerston, the British Foreign Secretary. A man whose presence here showed how seriously King Edward VII was taking the question of his North American possessions. [4]

Sure enough, when he was ushered into Palmerston’s presence, he found a man who was eager to come to the point. Palmerston said, “Your people have made for yourselves an army, you are making, it appears, a navy, and you have now to make what is more than either – you have to make a nation.”

Baldwin said, “You feel that strongly about the unification question?”

Palmerston nodded. “The North American provinces must stand more on their own resources, rather than relying so much on the mother country for everything. Most of all, you need to make for yourselves your own government – something which has been sorely lacking of late.”

Baldwin could only nod, remembering the problems of the Family Compact and the other tyrannical regimes.

Palmerston continued, “You having shown more willingness to listen than some of your contemporaries, I wanted to obtain your thoughts on what form of government the provinces should seek.”

Baldwin said, “I think that we need, above all us, a strong responsible executive. That can avoid the problems of the Family Compact, which led to the rebellions.”

Palmerston waved a dismissive hand. “A few hundred hotheads? They made a lot of noise, but even during the war they were no threat to us.”

There had been thousands of people in the rebellions, not hundreds, as Baldwin recalled, but Palmerston made a valid point. “Not so much for the threat of outright rebellion, but the Canadian people need to have a more responsible government for themselves.”

“A responsible executive, you called it,” Palmerston said. “Everyone I meet here seems to have a different idea of what that means. Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine tells me that it means having a governor who tells you what to do, but a legislature who tells the governor what to do. William MacKenzie wants a governor who would be a president in all but name.”

“Heaven forbid!” Baldwin said. The appointment of a governor-general – or whatever term was used – over a united British North America was something which made him very uneasy. Such a man could easily start the nation down the road to American-style government. “I want – and I think, most people here – want nothing to do with presidents. New England’s could be worse, but we need only look to the USA...”

“Indeed.” Palmerston steepled his hands and regarded Baldwin over them. “Which is why we in Britain are considering a Kingdom of Canada.”

“A kingdom outside of the British Empire?” Baldwin asked. That proposition made him very uneasy. Partly out of loyalty to the King, but also from a fear that if the Canadas had no protection from Great Britain, the Americans would be knocking on their border within a year. Mangum had always seemed that kind of leader.

“No, a kingdom within the Empire,” Palmerston explained. “A king, and indeed a kingdom, which controls internal affairs, but with external matters, such as foreign policy, and defence, still under control of the British Emperor.”

“Hmm.” Baldwin paused for some time to consider that proposal. It was certainly not what he would have expected to hear. But a union of the provinces, under a king... that might be the best way to achieve a unified, responsible government. Especially when considering the other alternatives. He wondered how all the various provinces would react. Upper Canada, he suspected, would welcome it. The Frenchmen probably would too, for all their grumbling about anti-Catholicism. So too for Wisconsin. The attitude of the maritime provinces, however, he found hard to gauge. “It is certainly something that should be proposed to the delegates.”

Palmerston smiled. “It will be.”


14 November 1844

Knoxville, District of Columbia

United States of America

“A kingdom? In the Canadas?” President Mangum said. “Are the British insane? Bad enough that we have to tolerate their independence at all. How dare they bring a king into the Americas? Prepare a letter for my signature, expressing in the strongest possible terms our displeasure at this development.” [5]


14 November 1844

Hartford, Connecticut

Republic of New England

President Daniel Webster drummed his fingers on his writing-table. A monarchy to be set up on the borders of New England? That made him uncomfortable, in a way which felt odd, given that he had no qualms about maintaining the strong alliance with the King of Britain. But then, a monarch on the other side of the Atlantic was one thing. A monarch across the Great Lakes was another.

Still, Webster was not sure what he could do. He had found enough trouble maintaining the Federalist Party since his inauguration. Too many Federalists still saw the presidency as a dangerous office, which needed to be opposed in favour of the rights of individual states. But if he left them to their wishes, New England would end up a mess of inefficient transportation and interstate rivalries. He had done what he could since his inauguration, but several of the state governors had accused him of being a closet Republican.

“I need to do something,” Webster said. If he left the British to do this without opposition, then the howls of protest from the Republicans and many of the more moderate Federalists would ensure that he achieved nothing else during his term as president. But antagonising Britain too much would hardly be in his interest, either.

The United States would be protesting this development right now, he knew. For a brief moment, he considered issuing a joint protest, then laughed. Cooperation with the United States would cause even more protests... and come to think of it, the U.S. opposition to this new monarch would probably be the best thing for ensuring that his countrymen stayed quiet about it. “But still, we should gain something from the British for letting this go ahead.” Webster smiled suddenly, then started to write a letter.


1 December 1844

Halifax, Nova Scotia

British North America

“So, the Americans are upset,” Baldwin said. “No surprise there.”

“They should be used to monarchs by now,” Palmerston said. “De Iturbide ruled in Mexico for years, and they did nothing.”

“That’s because they didn’t care – much – about greasers,” Baldwin said. “But what will we do about them?”

Palmerston said, “Ignore them, naturally. And tell them we will annex Guadeloupe – their illegal seizure – if they protest too much. What concerns me more is New England.”

“New England can’t afford to complain too loudly,” Baldwin said.’

“No,” Palmerston said. “But Webster is a cunning man. He’s realised that the Maritimes don’t want to join the union... and he’s offered to purchase them instead. Along with the territory in southern Upper Canada which they already have transit rights.”

Baldwin felt his eyes widen. “They think they can take all that?”

Palmerston said, “Webster points out that the Maritimes have for years been a tax drain on the exchequer.” He shrugged. “If the Maritimes – or at least, Brunswick and Nova Scotia – don’t want to join the Kingdom of Canada, let them join New England. Given His Majesty’s current finances, he would probably welcome the idea.”

Baldwin said, “That will leave a much smaller kingdom.”

“But a more stable one,” Palmerston said. “As always, I will seek the opinion of the delegates... but I expect I know what their answer will be.”


3 March 1845

Dearborn [Chicago], Wisconsin Province

British North America

Seamus O’Grady spat onto the ground. “A bloody king, here? I came to Wisconsin to get away from the bloody King of England and his toadies. At least the New England President might have done more to stop it.”

His brother, Patrick, shrugged. “To be a president in Yankee-land means you kiss Edward’s backside. Dan’l Webster’ll be glad to have a king over here who will kiss his own bloody backside.”

“Yes, but the brother of the damned King of England?” Seamus said. “There’s got to be something we can do about that.”

“Let it go,” Patrick said. “There’s other things to worry about. A king on the other side of the Great Lakes won’t have much to say to us. I’d worry more about these heathens who’re starting to come up from the United States.”

“True,” Seamus said, and aimed another staccato spit at the ground to show his opinion of the Nephites as well.


1 May 1845

Kingston, Upper Canada

Kingdom of Canada

President Daniel Webster had expected grand ceremony when he attended the coronation of James I [6] And he was not disappointed. The coronation of James saw the birth of a new nation, the Kingdom of Canada, with three formal provinces and territorial claims stretching all the way to the Pacific. But still, Webster found his own greatest satisfaction in the knowledge of what was waiting for him when he returned. As part of the same British North America Act which had granted the formation of Canada, New England had purchased Nova Scotia after its people voted by plebiscite to join New England. Webster still thought that he could earn himself a place in history alongside Pickering and Oakley as the only leaders who had added new stars to the Stars and Cross.

So, when it came time to make his speech as part of the after-coronation formalities – as the only visiting head of state in attendance – Webster was glad to welcome King James to the nations, and he finished his speech with the toast, “I gladly welcome His Majesty to Canada... a new king for the New World.”


[1] William Miller, who in OTL founded the millennial movement which led to the prediction of the end of the world on 22 October 1844, has been up to the same things in TTL. New York State remains a hotbed of religious revivalism in TTL just as much as in OTL, but the details of the religions are often different.

[2] In TTL, there has been no Durham Report, and thus no union of Upper and Lower Canada. These remain separate provinces, although unification is being discussed between them as part of the broader question of Canadian unification.

[3] Because, as in OTL, Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island are reluctant to join any such union. (They stayed out of the original Canadian union in OTL). New Brunswick and Nova Scotia are less keen on the prospect of union on their own, and many of their citizens look to New England instead. They are disinclined to pursue union with the western colonies due being separated from the other English-speaking areas by French-speaking Lower Canada.

[4] The question of Canadian unification has arisen much earlier in TTL than in our history for several reasons. The first is the greater sense of Canadian nationalism inspired by fighting two wars against the USA. The second is the greater population it has in TTL (more migration from Europe, and less migration to the USA). The third is the rebellions during the last war, which, while not a serious threat to British rule in themselves, made the Liberal governments in the UK more aware of the problems in the colonies and the need for responsible government.

[5] In OTL, one of the reasons Canada ended up being called the Dominion of Canada rather than the Kingdom of Canada was because of American objections. Not much has changed here about their attitude, although their ability to do something about it is much less.

[6] The ATL youngest brother of King Edward VII (the Duke of Kent lasted a little longer in TTL, long enough to father another two children).


Decades of Darkness #40: The Good Doctor

17 November 1839,

USS Warrington

Ballington [Miami, Florida], East Florida Territory,

United States of America

Ballington had certainly seen better days, Doctor David Adhemar thought as the Warrington sailed into Miami Bay. This had been the naval base anchoring the U.S. Navy’s operations in the south since just after the War of 1811, and it had been important during the recent war as well. Understandably, the British had raided it. Repair work was still being carried out on the fortifications as his ship sailed past.

Much as the United States as a whole have much rebuilding to do, Adhemar thought. The ship he was on was proof of that. Newly commissioned, the ship-of-the-line USS Warrington was named after the hero of the first raid on New York, and martyr of the Battle of the Chesapeake. It was but the first of many new ships which the United States needed to build, to replace the severe losses during the late war. After the string of defeats the U.S. Navy had suffered, Adhemar had been half-surprised to learn that it still had ships-of-the-line left at the war’s end.

But the U.S. Navy still had considerable strength, Adhemar realised as the Warrington came close to land. He counted ten ships of the line, and two dozen frigates in their anchorages. A sign of how seriously President Jackson was taking the pirate threat, since he had authorised these actions even though he had stated he would not seek a fourth term [1]. There would be an election held in the United States soon, but Adhemar cared little who won, be it the Democrats under their most likely candidate, Polk or the Patriots under Mangum. Both sides would continue the operations against the pirates, and that was all that Adhemar cared about. He had made a conscious effort to leave the events of the United States behind when he joined the navy.

After the Warrington anchored, Adhemar received an invitation – really, an order – to visit Commodore David G. Farragut at his study inside Fort Clay. He entered with some trepidation, unsure what had caused him to attract the attention of the most senior officer on this side of Washington, D.C. [2]. If the United States had followed the path of New England and accepted admirals, then Farragut would surely be one of them. But Adhemar wanted no part of that. It was the Yankees who were busy grovelling before the King of England and all his lords and “nobles”, and who had named an admiral, the accursed Admiral Perry, as proof that they were becoming part of the British Empire again in all but name.

In any event, Commodore Farragut proved genial, rising to greet Adhemar as he entered. “You are most welcome, Dr Adhemar. I’m glad you agreed to join the West India Squadron. We need good doctors, and I’ve heard excellent things about your service during the late war.”

Woodenly, Adhemar nodded. He knew Farragut meant well. It was true that medicine had advanced much during the War of 1837, and Adhemar had made a small contribution to that [3]. But speaking of the war only reminded him of what had happened in Norfolk. His own wife and new-born daughter killed by a mis-aimed shell during Perry’s raid on Norfolk. Compared to staying in an empty rebuilt home after the war, volunteering for operations against the pirates of the Caribbean had been a simple choice... but it didn’t mean he wanted to be reminded of what he had lost.

Oblivious, Farragut continued, “This is long overdue, but the West India Squadron is nearly complete. We should have rooted out these nests of pirates ten years ago, but everyone in Washington kept looking north. Calhoun made a brief effort, but not enough. Now, we will finish the job.”

To that, Adhemar could only nod again. This sentiment, he wholly approved of. “I will help as best I can, sir.”


4 December 1840,

USS Warrington,

Somewhere near St Martin,

Caribbean Sea

Cannon still fired from elsewhere in the Warrington as Adhemar finished his operations. Two marines had been hit by musket fire, and amputation had been the only solution both times. At least it could have been worse; neither of these sailors had been mangled by grapeshot. But the pirates near this God-forsaken corner of the Caribbean would be dealt with.

“Here ya go, doc,” a sailor said, from behind him.

Adhemar turned to see the sailors bringing up four men. These would be captured or surrendered pirates, since the tattered remains of their clothes bore no resemblance to naval uniforms. But they still might be worth saving, depending on who they were.

“What do we have here?” Adhemar murmured, as he inspected the prisoners. Two were obviously Spanish or something similar, and those he could leave for treatment until last. One man was white, and his incoherent mumblings sounded French. Adhemar nodded. “I’ll treat this one first.” He paused when he saw the last man. “Why did you bother bringing a wounded nigger for treatment?”

Standing orders for the entire West India Squadron had been to leave any wounded Negroes to die, if their wounds were this severe. Plenty of healthy ones had been captured, from the Maroons and other escaped slaves scattered across the Caribbean. Selling them on the auction blocks in Baton Rouge or Louisville or Charleston had helped to pay the cost of this war. But who would want to buy a slave with only one arm?

“This one says he knows where there’s some pirates operating near Cuba,” a sailor said. “He’s promised to lead us to them.”

Adhemar raised an eyebrow and looked at the slave. “And what do you get out of it?”

“Liberia,” the Negro murmured. “I gets me my freedom and a boat back to Africa.”

Adhemar shrugged. “May you enjoy it.” But he prepared to operate on the Negro, all the same.


16 March 1842

Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe

Kingdom of Sweden

(Territory in revolt)

“Miserable wreck of a city,” Adhemar said, looking out over Pointe-a-Pitre. From what he had heard, an earthquake had ruined the city two years ago. Certainly, few of the major buildings were standing, although the harbour was still functional. And a large number of people had gathered around the waterside to watch as the Warrington and five other ships of the line sailed into the harbour. Not a shot was fired, but the people were waiting.

“If there’s a revolt, where’s the fighting?” Adhemar murmured. He preferred the peacefulness – more than two and a half years of near-continuous operations had taught him how valuable that was – but the fleet had come into Guadeloupe expecting some opposition.

“Nowhere, now that we’ve arrived,” Commodore Farragut said, from beside him.

Adhemar started; he hadn’t realised the Commodore was even on board. “No revolt, sir?”

“Oh, yes, there was a revolt. The French planters want to keep their slaves, and the King of Sweden finally decided to abolish slavery here. But the Swedes don’t want a war with the United States, and so, I have here” – he produced a letter – “an invitation from President Mangum to extend U.S. protection to the people of Guadeloupe against Swedish colonialism. We are to occupy Guadeloupe as a protective measure – and I doubt the local Swedish garrison will do anything about it.”

“And if they resist?” Adhemar asked.

Farragut shrugged. “Then we defeat them.”


4 August 1842

Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe

Caribbean Territory

United States of America

“Another man dead of yellow fever,” Adhemar said, sighing, as he prepared to pull the sheet over the body. Disease was a greater enemy than the pirates, in this part of the Caribbean. No-one knew was sure what caused yellow fever, but it took a heavy toll on the men.

As he pulled up the sheet, Adhemar noticed a mosquito bite on the body. “Another one?” Most of the men who died of yellow fever had these bites on their arms. But then, so did most of the U.S. garrison here. Mosquitoes were an ever-present nuisance.

“But might they be something more?’ Adhemar whispered. His gaze began to search around the treatment room for any of the persistent insects.


7 May 1845,

Baltimore, Maryland,

United States of America

“This doesn’t feel like home,” Adhemar murmured, as he disembarked from the Warrington onto the docks. This was the first time he had set foot inside an American state in nearly six years, and his only brief stints on the mainland had been in Ballington. It still felt unreal that President Mangum had finally declared the Pirate Wars over. Adhemar still had no idea what he would do with his life, now that he would have to return to the United States itself.

“Dr Adhemar!” someone cried out.

Adhemar looked around and spotted a strange man who looked quite young [4], but who had a beard which could probably conceal an army of beavers. “Yes?”

The man extended a hand. “My name is Grant, sir. Ulysses H. Grant [5]. I’m with the Baltimore Tribune. Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?”

When Adhemar nodded permission, Grant produced a notebook and pencil. “First, sir, how does it feel to be back on U.S. soil after so many years?”

“I’ve been on U.S. soil for most of the last year,” Adhemar said. “In Guadeloupe and then at Charlotte Amalie in the Virgin Islands.” [6]

“Point taken, sir. But what I meant was, how does it feel to be here after the war has ended?”

“Strange,” Adhemar said quickly. “It means I’m not sure what I will do now.”

“But are you glad to be home?” Grant asked.

“The Warrington has been my home,” Adhemar said. “I will have to find another one, I suppose.”

Grant nodded. “What did you think about serving under the great Commodore Farragut?”

“He is an excellent officer,” Adhemar said. “Intelligent, careful, and thoughtful for his men. Our operations against the pirates would have been much harder without his guidance.”

Grant said, “There’s talk about establishing the rank of Admiral in the United States. Do you think Commodore Farragut would deserve that position?”

Adhemar said, “The United States do not need admirals at all. Are we Yankees, to kneel before the King of England?”

“I... see,” Grant said. “What was it like, fighting pirates?”

“I don’t fight people; I am a doctor,” Adhemar said. “But I am glad they’re gone; they were a scourge upon mankind.”

“So you were glad to treat people?” Grant asked.

“That is my life’s work,” Adhemar said. “Disease killed more of our sailors than pirates did. Anything I can do to stop that, I will gladly do, especially stopping the yellow fever.”

“Your mosquito theory?” Grant said, raising an eyebrow.

“Yes. Do you have anything else to ask me?” Adhemar asked coldly. He had faced enough ridicule from his colleagues over his failure to find any proof regarding mosquitoes and yellow fever; he had no need to justify it to this pompous reporter. Fatalities from yellow fever – and indeed, malaria – had gone down since he instituted practices to keep mosquitoes out. His adoption of quinine had also reduced the problems with malaria.

Despite the harshness of the counter-question, Grant remained steady. Adhemar suspected that he would have remained quite cool under fire, if he had ever joined the Navy. “Only one more question, sir. What do you plan on doing now?”

Adhemar said, “Going somewhere where I can keep people alive.” He walked past Grant and back to reacquaint himself with the United States.


The Ballington Express (17 May 1946)

Ballington, Jackson State

United States of America

Today In History:

On this day in 1865, the great Dr David Adhemar began trialling his experimental vaccine for yellow fever. This vaccine, the culmination of his life’s work, marked a great advance in the history of medicine. It was only the second vaccine developed anywhere, and while not quite as important as vaccine for smallpox, has made travel throughout the tropical regions of the United States much safer ever since.


[1] i.e., despite renewed war, Jackson was not seeking to become “president for life”, as some of his opponents had accused him of doing after he sought a third term during the War of 1833, on the grounds that the necessity of war required it.

[2] The U.S. capital moved to Knoxville, Tennessee, in time for the inauguration of the next President on 4 March, after Jackson’s attempts to keep it at Washington lasted only as long as his term in office.

[3] The War of 1833 saw some of the advances in medical organisation, such as the development of specialised nurses, effective army hospitals, and a trained medical corps, which were not seen in the OTL USA until the American Civil War. The mobilisation of large numbers of people in this war meant that the need was recognised sooner. There were also some advances in treatment, such as using bromine to prevent gangrene, and recognition of the problems of childhood diseases, which developed earlier than in OTL. Medicine is thus somewhat more advanced ITTL. The Pirate Wars will also give some recognition of the problems of tropical disease (although cures for most tropical diseases are beyond the current tech level).

[4] Adhemar is a post-POD character, born in 1811, and thus just enough older than Grant to think of him as young.

[5] This is, of course, not the Ulysses Grant of OTL, but a “brother”, born ITTL, and who is somewhat different than the Grant of OTL.

[6] The USA purchased the Virgin Islands (Danish West Indies) from Denmark in 1844. Slavery was still legal there (Denmark did not abolish it there in OTL until 1848) and, naturally, will continue to be so under U.S. rule.


Decades of Darkness #41: Amidst The March Of Time

15 June 1844

Franklin, Westylvania

United States of America

“So, we have come here, to the end of all things,” John Quincy Adams murmured. He was taking some dramatic license, he knew, but it felt much like that. With the capture and imminent execution of John Brown, it seemed that the last battle of the War of 1833 had just been fought.

Brown had lingered on for some time in Pennsylvania and Westylvania, leading the Velvet Underground to stir up as much resistance as he could, but his attempts had been doomed long ago. And his continued struggle poisoned the relationship between New England and the United States, which Adams and his fellow Republicans had been trying to rebuild for years. They had made great strides since the end of the war, but not yet enough. He hoped that his visit here to the state capital of Westylvania would add some more. Especially since he now found himself standing beside Henry Clay, one of the United States’ great elder statesman, and who was rumoured to be seeking the next presidential election to unseat Willie Mangum. Adams found it a great honour that Clay was willing to speak to him.

While they waited for Brown to be brought out for the hangman’s noose, Clay said, “Do you think he will relinquish his claims for Pennsylvanian independence?” Even now, Governor Wolf had offered Brown clemency if he abandoned his struggle and instructed his followers to do the same.

“A leopard will never change its spots,” Adams said, and shrugged.

“Then he and his kind are deaf leopards, then,” Clay said. “Howling in the night, but not hearing the answers.”

Adams said, “Brown and his fellows, well, they might be giants among men in moral stature” – Adams had no love for the American institution of slavery, but he still hoped that they might abandon it, given time – “but they have no understanding of the world. Or of the need for compromise.”

“Giants?’ Clay said. “I prefer to think of them as the beetles, scurrying about in the darkness of their beloved underground.”

“Darkness?” Adam said. “Brown will be cast into the fiery furnaces of hell, I think you’ll find.” He found that a harsh thing to say about any man, but it was surely true for all the blood on Brown’s hands. “In any case, I’m glad they’re caught.”

Clay nodded. “For too long, Brown and his followers were like stones rolling around our northeastern states, doing occasional damage and moving too fast for us to catch them.”

Adams said, “Theirs is a strange creed. They hope to become the genesis of something much larger.” He doubted their chances of success. Anti-slavery remained staunch in both Pennsylvania and Westylvania, although Brown’s activities were likely to weaken the cause. It also remained a firm belief in most of Ohio. But that was about all. Indiana was reportedly considering following Illinois’s lead in permitting slavery within its borders.

Clay said, “Brown hopes to become an American idol, something which people follow and will vote for. But he will never become so.”

Adams said, “I just hope he doesn’t make himself a martyr.” That would poison relations between Hartford and Knoxville. Adams wanted closer contact with the Americans; he preferred friendship with the United States, for all its faults, than grovelling before the United Kingdom.

“Yes, we don’t want him to produce any offspring,” Clay said. “To have peace with New England is much easier without Brown’s agitation. I want Pennsylvania, Westylvania and the rest of the border states quiet.”

As do I, Adams thought. He settled down to watch the hanging as Brown was brought out.


Selected Important Dates in North American History: 1833-1850

Taken from “The Compleat Textbook Series: Early American History”

By J. Edward Fowler (Principal Author)

Sydney, Kingdom of Australia.

(c) 1948 Eagle Publishing Company: Sydney. Used with permission


Andrew Jackson (Tennessee), Democrat, begins his second term as 8th President of the United States. William Cabel Rives (Virginia) inaugurated as Vice-President.

United States declares war on United Kingdom, New England and the Indian Confederation, beginning the War of 1833.

Texas-Coahuila declares independence from Mexico, and requests protection and later annexation by the United States. President Jackson agrees.


France declares war on United Kingdom and New England.

Border claims settled between United States and Mexico over Texas-Coahuila Territory (24 April).

Washington burned by a combined British-New Englander force.

Attempted calls for secession in Pennsylvania are overwhelmed by extremists, as the State Legislature declares secession and John Brown and Elijah Pennypacker lead the self-styled “Third American Revolution.”

Mexican Revolution begins, leading to a civil war between the republican forces led by General Santa Anna and the royalists under Emperor De Iturbide.

Westylvania [Pennsylvanian counties of McKean, Cameron, Clearfield, Cambria, Somerset, Bedford, and all counties west of that line] admitted as the 19th state in the Union. Westylvania has its capital at Franklin [Venango County] and is a free-soil state.

December Revolution in France leads to French withdrawal from the War of 1833.


Thomas Jackson Oakley (New York), Federalist, inaugurated as the 7th President of New England. Edward Everett (Massachusetts), Federalist, inaugurated as Vice-President.

Mexican civil war ends after the execution of former Emperor De Iturbide.

Peace negotiations to end the War of 1833 are held in Stockholm but break down late in the year.


Ill co-ordinated rebellions take place in various parts of the Canadas. Most are quickly snuffed out, but some discontent endures in Lower Canada for months.

Battle of New Orleans sees the British defeated by forces under Colonel Jefferson Davis.

President Andrew Jackson (Tennessee), Democrat, re-elected as 8th President of the United States. Jackson is the first man to obtain a third term in office. James Knox Polk (North Carolina), Democrat, is elected as Vice-President.


Treaty of Lisbon ends War of 1833. Indian Confederation removed from the map; its lands divided between New England’s Michigan Territory, Britain’s Wisconsin Province and additions to the U.S. states of Indiana and Illinois. [The U.S. border follows the line of the Maumee River, then the Wabash, Tippecanoe, across to the Vermillion, then connecting to the Mississippi around Moline. Michigan and Wisconsin are divided along the Illinois-Indiana state borders]. Texas-Coahuila Territory is recognised as part of United States. United Kingdom and New England recognise the USA’s right to import slaves from existing slaveholding nations (chiefly Cuba and Brazil), while forbidding any importation of slaves directly from Africa.


Long Island [Long Island, New York City, Staten Island, and the counties of Bronx, Westchester and Rockland] is partitioned from New York State and admitted as the 9th state in New England.


“Pirate Wars” begin with the formation of the U.S. Navy’s West India Squadron and commencement of operations throughout the Caribbean.

Edward Everett (Massachusetts), Federalist, inaugurated as 8th President of New England. Daniel Webster (New Hampshire), Federalist, inaugurated as Vice-President.


Willie Person Mangum (North Carolina), Patriot, defeats James Knox Polk (North Carolina), Democrat, to become the 9th President of the United States. George Mifflin Dallas (Pennsylvania), Patriot, is elected as Vice-President.

Arkansas admitted as the 20th state of the Union. Arkansas is a slave state.


U.S. capital moved to Knoxville, Tennessee, in time for the inauguration of President Mangum.

Texas-Coahuila Territory re-organised as East Texas Territory [northern and eastern counties of Texas], West Texas Territory [northwestern counties], Jefferson Territory [the rest of the seaboard counties of Texas] and Coahuila Territory [the rest of Texas, including those parts across the Rio Grande which were added to Texas in TTL].

Jackson Territory [southern Florida] partitioned from East Florida Territory in the United States.

The unorganised parts of the Louisiana Purchase reorganised into Iowa Territory [approximately the state of Iowa], Wilkinson Territory [everything north of Iowa and west of the Mississippi, up to the 46th parallel], Nebraska Territory [everything west of Iowa Territory, up to the boundaries of the Oregon Country and north of the Missouri northern border and up to the 46th parallel], Kansas Territory [between Nebraska Territory and the 37th parallel], and the Indian Territory [between the Texan states and the 37th parallel].


USA annexes Guadeloupe (from Sweden) and later pays compensation. Guadeloupe and surrounding islands are designated the first part of the Caribbean Territory.

East Texas admitted as the 21st state in the Union. East Texas is a slave state.

Jefferson admitted as the 22nd state in the Union. Jefferson is a slave state.


Daniel Webster (New Hampshire), Federalist, inaugurated as 9th President of New England. George Nixon Briggs (Massachusetts), Federalist, inaugurated as Vice-President.

Iowa Territory applies for admission as a state, but the application is tied up in committee in Congress after the convention in Iowa narrowly votes to become a free-soil state.

Coahuila Territory fails of admission of a state, largely due to suspicion of its slaveholding status and relatively large Spanish-speaking population.

Illinois amends its constitution to permit ownership of “Negro slaves and other persons in bondage”.


United States purchases Danish West Indies [U.S. Virgin Islands] and adds them to the Caribbean Territory.

Willie Person Mangum (North Carolina), Patriot, re-elected as the 9th President of the United States. Lewis Cass (Ohio), Patriot, is elected as Vice-President.


Formation of the Kingdom of Canada out of the former British provinces of Upper Canada, Lower Canada and Wisconsin. The maritime provinces of New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island decline to join Canada, and remain British possessions. New England purchases Nova Scotia from Britain, after a plebiscite, and adds it as Nova Scotia Territory.

“Pirate Wars” declared officially over.

East Florida admitted as the 23rd state in the Union. East Florida is a slave state.

Second Iowan constitutional convention approves an amended constitution permitting slave ownership and excluding any free blacks from the territory. Iowa is then admitted as the 24th state in the Union.


Settlement of Salt Lake City by Nephites under Brigham Young, inside Mexican territory.

Long Island State becomes the first state in New England to ratify the proposed constitutional amendment to end the “natural born” restrictions on the presidency and other public offices.


President Mangum of the United States is assassinated by a Negro fanatic. Lewis Cass becomes the 10th President of the United States.

New York and New Jersey become the second and third states to ratify the proposed constitutional amendment to end the “natural born” restrictions on public office.

Martin van Buren (New York), Republican, inaugurated as the 10th President of New England. Roger Sherman Baldwin (Connecticut), Republican, inaugurated as Vice-President.

Indiana amends its constitution to permit the ownership of slaves within its borders. [There are now only three free-soil states in the Union; Ohio, Pennsylvania and Westylvania.]


Lewis Cass (Ohio), Patriot, re-elected as the 10th President of the United States. Samuel Houston (East Texas), Patriot, elected as Vice-President.

New Hampshire and Vermont become the fourth and fifth New England state to ratify the proposed constitutional amendment ending the “natural born” restrictions on public office. The proposed amendment has been defeated in Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island and Connecticut [the states which usually vote Federalist] and is thus is not adopted. However, as there is no time limit to proposed amendments, the amendment remains potentially adoptable [seven states, three-quarters of all states, are required].


Michigan Territory’s application for statehood is rejected due to disputes about whether the territory should become one or multiple states. The weight of population (and likelihood that this will increase further) leads to worries about whether it will become decisive in presidential elections, particularly amongst New Yorkers who enjoy their state’s political weight.

Jackson [peninsular Florida] admitted as the 25th state in the Union. Jackson is a slave state.


Bear Flag Revolt begins in the Mexican province of California, as U.S. citizens who have emigrated there demand independence from Mexico and ask for U.S. annexation.


Decades of Darkness #42a: The Global Tour

This post provides a brief overview of events around the world since the POD in 1809, up to the end of the fourth decade in 1849. It isn’t intended to be a comprehensive history of each of the countries, but to highlight some of the more significant butterflies. The main focus of most of the posts in TTL is events in North America (and, to a lesser extent, Europe) but this post is to cover the rest of the world in some, albeit not much, detail.


In AUSTRALIA, what the British had originally settled as an outpost to get rid of surplus convicts has started to become one of their more significant group of colonies. There has been increasing immigration to the colony since the War of 1811, particularly from Ireland. The discovery of gold in the early 1830s, first in New South Wales and then in the new colony of Macquarie [Victoria] has led to a boom in population, especially in Liverpool [Melbourne]. Additional colonies have since been established at Kingsland [Queensland], Van Diemen’s Land, New Zealand, Adelaide, and Stirling [Perth; the colony is not yet called Western Australia]. The colonies have continued to receive significant immigration from the British Isles and much of Europe since the War of 1833.


In SOUTH-EAST ASIA, there have as yet been no major butterflies. The Dutch still rule the East Indies, and the French are eyeing Indochina.


In CHINA, the Opium War (also called Anglo-Chinese War of 1839-1842) has showed how unprepared the Middle Kingdom is to deal with the harsh realities of modern European technology. China’s navy was devastated by the British. The humiliations inflicted by the British have led to the development of new ideology, such as that by Hong Xiuquan, who is currently musing over the Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace [the Taiping Rebellions].


In NIPPON, the Tokugawa Shogunate has maintained its policy of isolation, with only strictly limited trading contact at Nagasaki for Dutch and Chinese merchants. However, the Dutch and their fellow members of the Germanic Confederation are now eying Nippon and wondering if the self-isolation should be forcibly ended.


In KOREA, the rulers are also trying to prevent foreign trade from entering the country, and so far have been successful.


In INDIA and BURMA, the British still rule through the East India Company, and there have been very few other butterflies of note.


In PERSIA, the rulers in the Qajar Dynasty are feeling increasingly nervous with the Russian Empire looking down on them from the north.


The OTTOMAN EMPIRE has been having rather a bad time of late. Greece went independent in 1829, supported by Britain and New England. The Russian-Ottoman War of 1834-1836 proved to be disastrous for the Turks, with the Russians seizing Moldavia, Walachia, and Kars, and other territories near the Danube and Black Sea, secured passage rights through the Dardanelles, and gained autonomy for Serbia. The Ottomans have also been forced to concede the de facto independence of Egypt.


In AFRICA, the European powers are beginning to make a scramble for colonies, although they are held off in many places by the disease barriers. In LIBERIA [not the same location as in OTL, but near Angola], the American colony is receiving large numbers of immigrants, some voluntary, some not, from the USA. In SOUTH AFRICA, the British abolition of slavery in 1842 has led to the trek of the Boers and the establishment of the Orange Free State and the Transvaal as independent republics. South Africa has also seen increased European immigration over OTL.


In COLOMBIA [Grand Colombia], the federated republic defeated the European invasions by the French and Spanish, even before the British forced the French to abandon these attempts. Ongoing disputes led to civil war within Colombia, leading to the secession of Venezuela in 1848. OTL Colombia, Ecuador and Panama remain part of Colombia.


The EMPIRE OF BRAZIL has become increasingly closely linked to the United States since the 1820s. Slave-trading contacts have become increasingly common, with Brazil becoming one of the major transshipment points for slave-trafficking from Angola and other parts of Africa, and then onto Cuba and the United States. Some of the more Americophile leaders in Brazil are beginning to adopt some of the US ideas, particularly racist theory which looks down on intermarriage between those of “European” blood and other races.


In CENTRAL AMERICA, the United States of Central America lasted from 1823 until its dissolution in civil war during the late 1830s. The states of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica remain as independent states to the present day. In EAST HONDURAS [British Honduras, then Belize], the United Kingdom retained permission for logging rights and other activities which it had been previously granted by the Spanish government, but withdrew a plan to set up a formal colony there in 1840 after the United States protested. East Honduras remains under informal British control to the present day.


In NORTH AMERICA, the continent is currently divided between four nations: the United States of America, the Republic of New England, the Republic of Mexico and the Kingdom of Canada, plus various British colonies near Canada. The United States has become dominated by slaveholding interests, and is currently looking covetously at Mexico’s northern provinces. Mexico was an empire for a while, but deposed the Emperor during the 1834 Revolution and remains a republic. New England is rapidly industrialising and its commerce is active throughout much of the globe. The newly-formed Kingdom of Canada is slowly developing into a nation.


The UNITED KINGDOM did not form Liberal governments as early as in OTL, with the first Liberal government in 1837. The nation has since adopted Catholic Emancipation, limited parliamentary reform, and abolished slavery within the Empire in 1842. It remains under the rule of King Edward VII and a succession of Liberal governments.


FRANCE was involved in the War of 1833, until the December Revolution of 1834 led to its departure from the war. There are currently rumblings of discontent from some of its people about the ongoing monarchy...


PORTUGAL has seen an ongoing conflict-friendship relationship with its main colony, Brazil, since the Napoleonic Wars. The royal family fled there to escape Napoleon, and Brazil was raised to the status of a kingdom, equal with Portugal. However, after the French tyrant was defeated, and João VI took the throne of Portugal, Brazil's status began to be reduced. Pedro declared himself Emperor of Brazil in 1822, and succeeded to the throne of Portugal in 1826. He briefly considered establishing his own son Miguel [the child who in OTL would have been Maria] to the throne of Portugal, but rumblings of discontent from his brother Miguel led to him delaying this decision until his son Miguel reached his eighteenth birthday in 1837. After this date, Miguel I of Portugal has been warily establishing a constitutional monarchy, and trying to balance the legacies of the past, particularly the ongoing slave trade between Angola and Brazil, with the need for reform within his country.


ITALY remains divided between various nations, although there is discussion of unification.


The GERMAN CONFEDERATION is slowly going down the path of unification. Its leading members are PRUSSIA, which includes Saxony and less of the Rhineland than in OTL, AUSTRIA, and the NETHERLANDS. Austria has been quite unhappy of late over the greater Russian presence in the Balkans since the Russo-Ottoman War. This has led to some stress between the two nations. Within Austria, there are also rising tides of Hungarian nationalism. The Netherlands [including the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and parts of the Rhineland] are a rapidly-industrialising federated monarchy with four major languages and ongoing political confusion.


GREECE won its independence in 1829, aided in part by their supply of frigates from New England. New England was also the first nation to recognise Greek independence, and there has been ongoing commercial and military contact, especially between the Greek Navy and the NEN.


The RUSSIAN EMPIRE has been expanding recently, with its acquisition of lands from the Turks during the Russo-Ottoman War, and ongoing expansion in the Far East. It is also looking at Persia.


Decades of Darkness #42b: The North American Tour

Population Data for the United States: 1850 [1,2]

Taken From “The United States In Expansion, 1850-1950: A Century of Triumph”

(c) 1952 By Harold Wittgenstein

Columbia Press: Columbia [Knoxville, Tennessee]

State Free Blacks Slaves Whites Total

Alabama 793 261,990 312,216 574,999

Arkansas 182 40,673 116,875 157,731

Coahuila [3] 40 14,214 90,668 104,922

Delaware 9,037 2,455 70,849 82,340

East Florida 733 77,442 100,727 178,902

East Texas 79 28,428 161,336 189,843

Georgia 1,466 407,766 549,225 958,457

Illinois 1,631 4,598 505,336 511,565

Indiana 2,816 2,111 486,378 491,305

Iowa 167 3,174 191,018 194,358

Jackson 233 23,638 43,495 67,366

Jefferson 60 21,321 126,002 147,383

Kentucky 5,006 224,530 797,987 1,027,522

Louisiana 6,985 208,640 233,473 449,097

Maryland 37,362 95,886 416,062 549,310

Mississippi 326 231,760 221,071 453,157

Missouri 916 71,255 432,538 504,709

North Carolina 13,732 308,975 560,539 883,246

Ohio 12,335 0 1,888,940 1,901,274

Pennsylvania 19,769 0 1,593,599 1,613,368

South Carolina 4,480 406,233 283,327 694,041

Tennessee 3,211 254,432 783,430 1,041,073

Virginia 27,167 498,154 910,773 1,436,094

Washington 514 51,320 261,386 313,220

West Florida 2,225 212,017 236,563 500,306

West Texas [3] 20 9,107 35,334 44,461

Westylvania 9,044 0 704,399 713,443

Total 159,824 3,460,119 12,113,549 15,733,492


Population Data for New England: 1850

Source: New England Bureau of Statistics

State Blacks Whites Total

Connecticut 3,077 381,465 384,542

Maine 542 579,195 579,737

Massachusetts 3,626 1,001,015 1,004,641

Long Island 8,818 643,256 652,073

New Hampshire 208 324,027 324,235

New Jersey 9,618 473,414 483,033

New York 10,810 2,395,026 2,405,836

Rhode Island 1,468 146,228 147,696

Vermont 287 317,175 317,462

Michigan Territory 3,096 625,116 628,212

Nova Scotia Terr. 1,114 325,740 326,854

Total 42,665 7,211,657 7,254,351


Population Data for Canada: 1850 [4]

Source: New England Historical Archives, Hartford, Connecticut

Province Population

Quebec 904,004

Ontario 945,725

Wisconsin 181,249

Other [5] 65,000

Total 2,095,978

Population Data for British North America: 1850 [4]

Source: New England Historical Archives, Hartford, Connecticut

Province Population

New Brunswick [6] 223,805

Prince Edward Island 61,549

Newfoundland 101,642

Total 386,996


[1] The 1850 U.S. census did not include the population from the incorporated territories (Wilkinson, Nevada, Kansas, and Indian Territories) or the unincorporated territories (Caribbean, Oregon Territory). It also did not include the substantial numbers of U.S. citizens living within Mexico's northwestern provinces, particularly Upper California (an estimated 10,000 people at this time) and the Nephites around the Great Salt Lake.

[2] Notable emigration: a total of 220,602 free blacks went to Liberia by 1850, including 159,824 from USA and 60,778 from New England.

[3] The pre-statehood populations of Coahuila and West Texas are measured through the Greater Texas Census.

[4] Unlike their counterparts across the border, the Canadian and British censuses did not separate out Negroes during 1850.

[5] Includes British Columbia, Northwest Territories, British-Canadian portions of Oregon Country.

[6] Nova Scotia and New Brunswick received considerable New Englander immigration since around 1820 (approximately 50,000 each), and New Brunswick also saw considerable emigration of its francophone population to Quebec after Canadian unification. By 1850, approximately 22% of New Brunswick's and 15% of Nova Scotia's population is of Yankee descent.


Decades of Darkness #43a: Revolutions - Islands in a Sea of Crime

Excerpts taken from “1849: The Great Year Of Revolution”

By Andries Visscher

Universiteit Antwerpen (University of Antwerp)

Antwerp, Netherlands, German Empire

Translated into English by Victor Emmanuel Lopez

(c) 1946 Imperial Press: Antwerp. Used with permission.


“A spectre haunts Europe – the spectre of communism. All the powers of old Europe have united in a holy alliance to banish this spectre: Pontiff and Czar, Metternich and Guizot, French Radicals and Prussian secret police. Communism is already recognised by all European powers to be itself a power. It is high time that Communists and their allies throughout Europe should stand before the whole world and let the old powers quake before the new order and the rise of revolution.”

- Karl Marx [1] and Heinrich Adenauer, The Communist Manifesto

“Society was cleft in two: those who had nothing united in common envy, and those who had anything united in common terror.”

- Alexis de Tocqueville, Reflections

“To exist is to struggle. To be a nation is to struggle against the enemies without and within who would wrest the leadership from its rightful holders. We must be ever watchful for those who would be our enemies, within our borders or beyond them. For just as the nations of Europe now find themselves beset with enemies within and foes outside, so the United States face enemies inside our borders and beyond our borders who would deny us the rights and opportunities which belong to us as members of the American race.”

- U.S. President Lewis Cass’s re-election address, 1849

The great waves of revolution which crashed against the shores of Europe in 1849 mark the most important event of the nineteenth century. It has been said, with considerable justification, that the history of the nineteenth century consists of the events leading up to the 1849 revolutions, and the ongoing attempts to deal with the outcomes of these revolutions.

For the clouds of revolution gathered over every European country west of the Russian border. From the Hungarian and Viennese revolutionaries on the borders of Russia, to the Chartist and Irish uprisings in the British Isles, from the Risorgimento in Sicily to the Danes in Holstein, revolution seemed to be everywhere in 1849 [2]. For a time, it seemed that the established order might crumble throughout Europe, with the Bourbons driven out of Sicily, King Louis Phillipe fleeing France for the United States, and the Hungarians proclaiming an independent republic. Most of these triumphs were to prove short-lived. But the prevailing issues raised during the revolutions - socialism, democracy, liberalism, radicalism and nationalism – were to trouble Europe for generations to come...

Chapter 3: Italy: The Revolutions Begin

“Gunners, spare the Italian generals: they are our greatest allies in the field.”

- Attributed to Field Marshal Josef Radetzky, commanding the Austrian forces in Italy in the wars of 1849-50

The first revolutions in 1849 began in Sicily. In January of that year, an uprising began which would eventually take over the entire island. It was following by uprisings in Naples, forcing Ferdinand II to – temporarily – grant a liberal constitution.

But the major revolutions happened in the Austrian-dominated north of Italy. Here, in Milan, and soon the rest of Lombardy, agitation boiled over into revolution. The Austrians were briefly driven out of most of Italy, as Pope Pius IX reformed the Papal States [3], and Venice re-established itself as a free republic, taking most of the Austrian fleet with it [4]. Further revolts followed throughout much of the rest of the Italian lands.

However, problems arose for the revolutionaries when Pope Pius IX vacillated over supporting the Italians fighting fellow Catholics. He soon found himself in exile in Naples, as the Roman Republic was formed.

For a time, it looked as if most of Italy would fall to revolution. But Austria would not be defeated so easily and, despite the struggles elsewhere, dispatched Field Marshal Josef Radetzky to suppress the revolutionary activities...

Chapter 4: France: The Triumph of the People

“We are sleeping on a volcano...”

- Alexis de Tocqueville

“The French change governments so often they might as well install a revolving door in the gates of Paris.”

- Marshal Antonio Lopescu (as he then was)

As even a casual reader of French history will be aware, France has a long history of revolution and unstable governments, even preceding the 1789 Revolution, and ever since that time they have changed governments frequently enough that her public servants could be forgiven for forgetting which flag should be flown in a particular week, at least until the recent imposition of stability on France [5].

Nevertheless, the February Revolution in France is of important significance in considering its impact on the rest of Europe. For, while the Sicily revolutions preceded it, it was the success of the “Paris Spring” which inspired the activities of revolutionaries elsewhere.

The basic events of the revolution are easily recounted. Protestors were marching on the streets of Paris, the Prime Minister was rumoured to be considering resignation, and then shots were fired into the crowds. Over sixty citizens died, but the result was revolution. The mob converged on the royal palace, King Louis Philippe departed the continent of Europe to live in the country whose war he had abandoned on his accession to the throne, and the Second French Republic was born...


[1] Not quite the Karl Marx of OTL, but similar in most aspects of his personality. There are some important differences, e.g. Karl Marx does not explicitly deny religion in TTL.

[2] Some pedantic historians have noted that, despite the claims here, several European countries within these limits were untouched by the revolutions of 1849, e.g. Spain and Sweden.

[3] For a very low value of “reform”.

[4] And, of course, a Venetian republic with a fleet to back it up will be a challenge for the Austrians to recapture.

[5] Readers who are perplexed by the change in Visscher’s usual academic tone are invited to note his country of origin and, importantly, publication.


Decades of Darkness #43b: Revolutions – Against The Tired Of Years

21 March 1849

The Hague,

United Kingdom of the Netherlands,

German Confederation

“So, it falls to me, in this time of upheaval, to take up my father’s crown,” murmured Crown Prince Willem Alexander. This had been a dangerous time throughout Europe. The previous month, the monarchy had fallen in France. The Italian lands had risen up in revolt, England was consumed with strife, and much of the German Confederation convulsed with revolution. He had recently received word that the Hungarians and Viennese were rising up in Austria. And now, his father had died four days ago, leaving him to assume the crown and chart a new course for the Netherlands. [1]

And what path should he lead the Netherlands down, Willem wondered. He already knew the calls which had been felt throughout the Netherlands, particularly the restive South [2], for electoral reform and changes. Fortunately, the Dutch and German-speaking parts of the Kingdom were more loyal, and with Luxembourg and the Rhine provinces outweighing the South [3], he should be able to weather any storms.

But what kind of storms would be brought? He suspected that the example of the French would see their co-linguists in the South look for fresh demands. No doubt to the point of leaving the Netherlands. And that, he could not stomach, any more than he wanted to grant the calls for electoral reform. He wanted to follow the example of his grandfather, not his father. “I want to rule, not just to reign,” he murmured.


1 August 1849

Hungarian Diet,


Kingdom of Hungary (proclaimed)

Austrian Empire (recognised)

The men assembled in the Diet had come to hear Lajos Kossuth’s words on the success of their revolution in Hungary, but he had come to speak so that his words would be carried to the newspapers. Those were the true messengers here; two hundred thousand Hungarians would hear his words through the newspapers.

“Gentlemen. I have ascended the dais to demand that you save our country. The weight of this moment oppresses my soul. I feel as if God had given me the trumpet to waken the dead, that if they be sinners they return to the grave, but that if they be honest, that they may wake for eternity. Thus, at this moment, stands the fate of the nation!

“At the dissolution of the last Diet, our nation stood with a treasury emptied – without arms, without means of defense. All could see and grieve for the gross neglect which had marred the country’s interests. I myself was one of the many who for years have called on the executive power and the nation, to deliver justice to the people before the day would come when it was too late for justice. And that day has come!

“Long may our nation’s enemies hear the full force of the fatal words, “Too late”. This much is certain, that the nation and the executive power have retarded justice, to the moment when the people caused the overthrow of all existing institutions.

“Where is a reason to be found that we should take up arms? In the past, no such reason existed, but in the quest for justice, in delivering to us the rights that belong to our people – those of the right for any man to hold any public office, to own property, to be held as a man and to vote, to be granted the right for justice before independent justice, to have one law for all men – these rights cannot be denied to us. For if a people think the liberty they possess is too limited, they will take up arms to conquer more. Now the taking up of arms is often a doubtful game – for a sword has two edges – but the liberty we seek cannot be denied us.

I therefore demand of you, Gentlemen, a great resolution: Proclaim that, in just appreciation of the extraordinary circumstances on account of which the Diet has assembled, the nation is determined to bring the greatest sacrifices for the defense of its crown, of its liberty, and of its independence, and that in this respect it will at no price enter with any one into a transaction which even in the least might injure the national independence and liberty, but that it will be always ready to grant all reasonable wishes of everyone.


3 May 1850

The Winter Palace

St Petersburg, Russian Empire

Nicholas I, Tsar of all the Russias, leaned back on his chair. “Ferdinand asks for our support against the rebels in Hungary?”

Sergey Uvarov, minister for education – and assorted other, less publicised duties – nodded. “With Vienna only just recaptured, and Italy still in revolt, the Austrians are weak. Recapturing Hungary... may be beyond their strength.”

Nicholas considered the matter for a moment. The Hungarian revolutions left him genuinely undecided. He supported the principle of divine monarchy, and thus had firm views about the revolutions which had swept through Europe during the last year.

But most of those revolutions had failed, or were nearing defeat. Hungary was a special case; it had lingered longest, and showed most chance of success. He had initially feared that the actions of the Hungarians would stir up the Poles and others in his western provinces, but that had not happened. [4] And, above all, Nicholas welcomed anything which weakened Austria. If it hadn’t been for the bad precedent it would set for his own subjects, he would have welcomed an independent Hungary being carved out of Austria.

“Tell Ferdinand... tell Ferdinand that if he wanted gratitude from us, he should not have shown such ingratitude over our war with the Turks.”

Uvarov’s eyes widened. “Shall we tell him in those exact words?”

Reluctantly, Nicholas shook his head. He wouldn’t have minded shocking the Habsburgs with his ingratitude. But diplomacy warned against it. He might yet need Ferdinand someday. “Tell him that commitments within the Empire prevent us assisting him.”

That was, of course, a resounding lie. Russia had been spared the revolts of the west – proof, in Nicholas’s eyes, that the people loved him as their father. Yet the Austrians could do nothing to act against it.

:”Let the Austrians fight the Hungarians alone, and win, if they can,” Nicholas said.


[1] William II of the Netherlands died on 17 March 1849 in both OTL and TTL. His son, Willem Alexander, is not genetically the same son as in OTL, but is even more reactionary and absolutist than his OTL equivalent. And, in TTL, he has no 1848 constitution to restrain him.

[2] OTL Belgium, which here has twice failed of revolution. William II, a more moderate man than his father, made some concessions toward autonomy for the French-speaking provinces, although not the Flemish-speaking areas even where there was a French speaking component.

[3] The Netherlands in TTL still include the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (larger than in OTL because none has been conceded to Belgium), and a stretch of land on the west bank of the Rhine, up to but not including Cologne.

[4] An earlier, bloodily defeated Polish revolt in 1842 has taken away a lot of the Polish desire for uprising.


Decades of Darkness #43c: Revolutions – On The Oceans Of Emnity

Extracts from “1849: Case Studies in Revolution”

(c) 1946 By Pedro E. Hanford

Jefferson Davis University

Puerto Veracruz, Veracruz State

United States of America

The difference between the outcomes of the February Uprising in France and the Chartist Rebellion in Great Britain is a classic example of the role played by the National Will. For, on first glance, the Chartist Rebellion would have been the one thought most likely to succeed, as it had a much broader support base. [1] When John Frost led his successful rebellion in Newport, working-class uprisings followed throughout most of the country, demonstrating the popular support. By contrast, the February Uprising consisted of a mere handful of disaffected individuals, who could have been easily suppressed if the French monarch had been willing to do so.

But what Louis Philippe lacked, and Edward VII possessed, was a strong sense of National Will. Since the fall of Napoleon I, the French people have consistently demonstrated a lack of faith in their government and in their leader, as shown by their continual changes of government. This has resulted in leaders lacking vision. By contrast, while the British people might dispute the form of government, they offered continual support to their national identity and, indeed, to their leader. Even the most vehement of the Chartists did not wish to unseat Edward VII, merely to gain a greater say in the government. This demonstration of National Will meant that, even as Edward VII ordered his army to suppress rebellion wherever it occurred, he also felt safe in asking Parliament to offer constitutional concessions to the Chartists, firm in the knowledge that his own throne – and Empire – remained safe.

This difference is made even clearer in comparing the British response to Ireland. The Young Ireland rebellion in 1849 was not a strong threat to British rule, but the British counter-revolution was even harsher than the response to the uprising of 1833. There were constitutional options available to Edward VII if he wished to grant a peaceful option to the Irish revolutionaries – most notably the proposal for a Kingdom of Ireland within the British Empire, similar to that instituted in Canada. But this would never be granted by Edward VII, due to the circumstances. The Irish revolutionaries were alien to a sense of National Will [2]; they had no national identity in common with the rest of the British Isles, and wished only to revolt. This meant that there could be only one response from the British government, and they proceeded to deliver it...


Extracts from “Schleswig-Holstein: The Danish Tragedy”

By Sergey Tolstoy,

Translated by Richard H. Morris,

St. Petersburg, Russian Federation.

(c) 1975 Red Truth Publishing Company, St. Petersburg.

Used with permission.

While Schleswig-Holstein had long been part of Denmark, since the Congress of Vienna in 1815, it had also been afflicted by the rising tide of German nationalism. The calls for independence for Schleswig-Holstein grew louder with every passing year, especially with the increased sense of German national feeling after 1834 [3]. With the death of Christian VIII in 1847 [4], Frederick VII now found himself in a very precarious position. Schleswig-Holstein appeared in the verge of open revolt. Worse, his legal heir in Denmark was the Crown Princess [5], but she had no right to inherit Schleswig-Holstein, which belonged to Duke Christian of Sonderburg-Augustenburg. Furthermore, according to the old conditions of the Freiheitsbrief, the two provinces were to remain forever undivided.

This vexatious situation came to a head during 1849, when the tides of revolution swept through Denmark. The Danish nationalists advocated full union with Denmark, while the German nationalists rose up in revolt demanding independence for Schleswig-Holstein. The fateful death of Frederick VII in a fall now left Denmark in an unenviable position. There was no clear heir for the Danish throne, and one thing was certain: with Christian asserting his claim to the Duchy of Schleswig-Holstein – with Prussian support – Denmark now faced disaster.


From “The Three Kaisers: The Rise of the German Confederation 1815-1867”

(c) 1948 By Marie Coburg

Vanderbilt Press

New York City, Long Island, New England

The revolutions of 1849-1850 posed the greatest challenge to the German Confederation in their history. Considerable portions of their people were in open revolt. Two of the three great German powers, Austria and the Netherlands, both faced considerable internal struggle. The Hungarian revolt, for a time, looked as if it would succeed in breaking free of Habsburg rule entirely. The revolts in the Netherlands were less dramatic, but involved greater segments of the population. Elsewhere in the Germanies, there were also other notable uprisings, particularly Baden. To those ambitious revolutionaries throughout the Confederation, it seemed that they would soon have successfully followed the French example.

But there were several important differences between their revolutions and that of France. The first was Prussia. Prussia remained relatively free of the revolutionary struggles, except for the uprisings around Dresden [6] and the brief “Berlin Spring” where King Frederick William IV granted some minor constitutional concessions and removed most of the revolutionary pressure. With Prussia loyal, and its undoubted military capacity ready to lend counter-revolutionary support, the revolutions in Hungary, Denmark and Baden were all ultimately doomed.

The second important difference was that the revolutionary energy in much of the Germanies was easily directed toward maintaining established order. The nationalistic revolt in Schleswig-Holstein, for example, needed only minor Prussian support before both duchies were added to the German Confederation. Similarly, King William III of the Netherlands, although reluctant to accept any limits on his royal rights, granted a constitution which allowed the middle classes a political voice, and thus gained their support against the more extreme working-class elements and would-be Belgian nationalists.

However, the third and most important difference was that the Germanies possessed a national institution, the German Confederation with an established assembly, which could act as a source of further unity. The pre-1849 Frankfurt Assembly, while it did not function as a true national government, was nonetheless a proto-parliament which could act as a source for further unification.

Indeed, 1849 saw many Germans determined to achieve a true united confederation. This was well-put by Friedrich von Ršhne, when he stated: “The liberated German nation is eager to reap the fruits of its political emancipation. It requires order, it demands the revival of industry. It demands the political unity of Germany so that it can break the chains which bind domestic commerce and which even now still separate one German state from another. It demands the political unity of Germany so that it can win for its country the eminent position in foreign commerce. The divided states of Germany have until now been in no position to assert this claim against foreign nations, but the united states of Germany will know how to enforce it.”

This statement made fine rhetoric, but determining the details of a truly united Germany was far from easy. There were many, many questions. The principal ones were: how to include the great German powers, each of which included non-German speakers, and still preserve a quintessentially German Reich; and how this proposed nation was to be ruled.

The Grossdeutsch solution was the main desire of the Frankfurt Assembly: to include all German-speaking peoples. But this required either breaking apart Austria, and perhaps even the Netherlands and Prussia, or finding some alternative. Excluding both Austria and the Netherlands would effectively create a glorified Prussia, nothing more. This question appeared to be unresolvable, until the ongoing Hungarian revolt offered a solution... and also in its own turn answered how the new nation should be ruled.

The suppression of the Hungarian revolt was achieved by Prussian support, but it was clear to the Prussians that Hungary could become an “unhealable wound” unless some action was taken. Despite his vast respect for the Habsburg monarchy, Frederick William IV made it clear that he did not wish to provide indefinite ongoing military support against the Magyars. This meant negotiating with the rebels... which in turn meant that the same solution which was being proposed in Frankfurt was now adopted in Austria.

The solution to the non-German problem was made easier by the abdication of Ferdinand of Austria in 1850. His successor, Franz Josef I [7], proved to be both more cooperative than Ferdinand. Franz Josef accepted the Prussian proposal of separating the Kingdom of Hungary into a separate state from the rest of his dominions, but ruled through a personal union. With the departure of Hungary, the Grossdeutsch solution became much simpler. Each of the greater German powers had some non-German speakers, but not enough to exclude them from the united Confederation. Thus, the Frankfurt Assembly recommended the constitution for a German Reich to include a legislative assembly based in Frankfurt, with responsibility for taxation and other internal matters.

Executive power resided in the Three Kaisers, who were elevated to imperial status. Within the Assembly, they sat as German princes who were not raised above their fellows. The Frankfurt Diet would legislate on internal matters, and any proposed legislation required the approval of two of the three Kaisers. In external matters, the Frankfurt Diet advised the three Kaisers, who required unanimous consent before any action was undertaken. In a further concession to the great powers, each of the great powers retained their own military structures, which allowed them to create integrated armed forces with their non-German territories. The national German armed forces were to consist of units from all the member states, and, in practice, the army was Prussian-dominated while the navy was Dutch-dominated.

The proposals at Frankfurt, naturally, appealed to each of the three German monarchs. To the kings of Prussia and Netherlands, it meant an elevation to imperial status. More importantly, it meant that they traded very little: they retained authority over their own territory, and gained a voice in other areas, and an important defensive pact with all of the German states. To the Habsburgs, it was less appealing to lose their primacy in imperial status, but the defensive advantages were obvious. With some persuading from the Austrian delegates, the Frankfurt Assembly made a further concession: the Austrian Emperor was restored as Holy Roman Emperor – a title without a nation, but one which carried prestige – and was responsible for representing the Reich in foreign affairs.

Of course, matters were rarely so neat as the proposed Reich appeared, when seen from Frankfurt. Substantial numbers of non-Germans remained within the boundaries of the Reich, particularly the French-speaking subjects of the Dutch Kaiser, the Poles in Prussia, and in the more cosmopolitan parts of the Austrian Empire. The division of the military forces also represented significant potential for friction. The independence of the German princes also remained in their various small states, and they still viewed themselves as possessing the divine right of kings, since the reformers had needed to grant this concession when developing the constitution. Nonetheless, the formation of the Reich represented a monumental step toward German unification.

It also sent alarm bells sounding from London to St Petersburg, from Stockholm to Naples, as a new nation joined the map of Europe... [8]


[1] The Chartists were delayed as a movement because they were largely generated in response to working-class exclusion from electoral reform. They have been similarly excluded in TTL – indeed, the Great Reform Act of 1840 had a more limited franchise than its OTL equivalent – but the delay in instituting this reform means that the Chartist disturbances were similarly pushed back.

[2] It is, I presume, clear what sort of agenda Pedro E. Hanford is pushing in his analysis of these events.

[3] Viz, the second Belgian revolution, and the combined German operations to suppress it.

[4] He died a year earlier than in OTL, due to a different illness.

[5] The child who would have been Christian IX of Denmark was born female ITTL, and due to various other mishaps has no surviving male siblings.

[6] Prussia has owned all of Saxony since 1815 in TTL.

[7] Not the Franz Josef of OTL, but an ATL child of Archduke Franz Karl of Austria and Princess Sophie of Bavaria, born in 1828 and with a different personality to OTL.

[8] Marie Coburg is exaggerating somewhat; Germany is in no sense a united nation in 1850. But its appearance is still quite threatening to other powers, no matter how friendly it acts.


Decades of Darkness #44: Greece on the Wheels of Revolution

17 June 1814

Odessa, Russian Empire

“We are agreed then, my friends?” Emmanuel Xanthos asked. Only two other men were with him, but the message they had prepared would shake the world. Of that, he was certain.

Athanasios Tsakalof nodded. “We will form our Friendly Society, and let us form branches throughout all of the Greek lands.”

Nikolaos Skoufas said, “Only strength of arms can lift the Hellenes from under the Turkish boot. Let us organise a movement which can provide that strength, and the resources to support it. Let the Hellenes win their freedom!”


21 March 1821

Agia Lavra Monastery,

Peloponnese, Ottoman Empire

A few hundred men had gathered to watch the event. Bishop Germanos had taken care to ensure that none of the accursed Turks were nearby, only good Hellenes. The banner he raised showed the Dormition of the Virgin, lying on her death-bed attended by angels. Bishop Germanos smiled to himself as, one by one, the patriots came to bend knee before the banner and swear their vows to liberate Greece from the Turks.

Before the day was out, the Sacred Banner would be pierced by a Turkish bullet, but the town of Kalavryta would become the first town to be liberated in the Greek Revolution...


6 April 1824


Greece (proclaimed)

Ottoman Empire (recognised)

George Gordon, Baron Byron of Rochdale, lay in his sickbed on Messolonghi. Here he had come to aid the liberty of the Greek people, bringing with him his Byron Brigade of volunteers, only to be struck down with marsh fever. An ailment which few recovered from, and which no man yet knew the reason for. But he was determined to fight it.

He murmured again the poem he had formed a few months before.

“The sword, the banner, and the field,

Glory and Greece, around me see!

The Spartan, borne upon his shield,

Was not more free.

Awake! (not Greece – she is awake!)

Awake, my spirit! Think through whom

Thy life-blood tracks its parent lake,

And then strike home!

Tread these reviving passions down,

Unworthy manhood! – unto thee

Indifferent should the smile or frown

Of beauty be.

If thou regret’st thy youth, why live?

The land of honourable death

Is here: - up to the field, and give

Away thy breath!

Seek out – less often sought than found –

A soldier’s grave, for thee the best,

Then look around, and choose they ground,

And take thy rest.”

He coughed again, and shook his head. “I will not succumb to the ailment here.” It was not death he feared, but to depart this world without having first aided the cause of the Greeks. [1]


15 April 1825

New York City, New York State

Republic of New England

William Bayard, chairman of Le Roy, Bayard and Co., affixed his signature to the letter acknowledging the receipt of ₤50,000, in credit for the first two ordered frigates. Construction could begin soon... and then the prices could be raised. Of that he was certain. The Greeks were not in a position to argue terms.

His secretary entered, without knocking. Bayard looked up in surprise at the breach of protocol.

The secretary said, “Sir, Mr Nathan Sanford has arrived and requests that you see him.”

Bayard felt his jaw drop. “What possible cause could make the Vice-President attend unannounced?”

Sanford strode into the office, and answered, “The business of the good name of New England and its commercial transactions.”

Bayard gestured to the secretary, who hurried out and closed the door behind him. “I don’t follow you... sir.”

Sanford took a seat without asking, then said, “Then I shall make it abundantly clear. Your firm – along with that of G.G. & S., Howland, has signed a contract to deliver two frigates to London, there to be sent on to the Greeks currently fighting for independence. Is that correct?”

Bayard nodded.

“And the Greek government-in-exile in London, through its agent General Lallemand, has indicated that six more frigates, at least, would be purchased.”

Bayard indicated his agreement.

Sanford said, “And, for this transaction, the agreed price is $247,500 per ship.” [2]

Bayard said, “Sir, how do you know such details of our private commercial transactions?”

Sanford said, “You are not the only man with Greek friends. Now, sir, I must emphasise one point. I would urge you most strongly to ensure that the frigates are delivered at the specified date and for the agreed price.”

Bayard sat up straight in his street. “Mr Vice-President, I take offence to the imputation that we would conduct ourselves any other way.” In fact, he had been planning exactly that, but now he was beginning to reconsider. And he wondered how Sanford had gotten word of this plan, but he knew better than to ask.

“I made no accusation,” Sanford said. “But I urge you once more to ensure that these frigates are delivered. Any minor delays or increases in cost could well mean that the contract for further frigates goes to the United States, say, or Britain. And that would be viewed as most unwelcome. I would have to direct the Secretary of the Treasury to investigate the conditions of the contract.”

Bayard said, “Sir, what if we encounter difficulties.”

“Then fix them,” Sanford said. “You will receive a contract for another six frigates – at least – if you are successful here. That should be all you need.” He rose, and said, “I can see myself out.”

Bayard drummed his fingers on the table as he left.


13 March 1826,


Greece (proclaimed)

Ottoman Empire (recognised)

“How long can a siege go on for?” Byron asked the empty air. The Turks had been encamped around the city for months, supported by their squadron blocking most resupply attempts by sea.

He had found the war he sought, but he had quickly realised that a soldier’s death was not what he wanted either. What he wanted as a soldier’s life. That was harder to maintain with the Turks ever increasing their grip around the city. And with resupply from land impossible – Ibrahim Pasha was too effective on the field of open battle – that meant only a slim chance of success on the naval front.

Only then, looking out over the sea, did he catch the first glimpse of sails on the horizon. Many sails, as more and more ships came into view. Not just the host of small and medium ships he had come to recognise in the Greek Navy, but an array of frigates and other vessels. They easily outnumbered the Turkish squadron.

Byron murmured, “Mayhap the soldier’s life I will find, and one day soon, perhaps a wife.”


16 January 1828


Republic of Greece (proclaimed)

Ottoman Empire (recognised)

“Welcome to Greece,” Count Iaonnis Antonios Kapodistrias murmured to himself, as he entered the town which had now been proclaimed Greece’s capital. And part of a nation which was rapidly growing. The success of Greek arms in the Peloponnese, Thessaly, Crete, Chios and Samos had proven that. The power of their navy had broken the Egyptian support, with Mehmet Ali ordering his son back to Egypt with what remained of their fleet. Now the time had come to secure Greece’s independence.

“And on what terms?” he asked himself. All of the Peloponnese, certainly. Thessaly. Crete, Samos and Chios would also be vital. Perhaps even Arta and Preveza in Epirus. But to gain any form of independence, he would need support from the Great Powers of Europe and North America. He knew many of them favoured the Greek cause, especially New England. This meant that he needed to put peace proposals to them. Without such proposals, the Sultan would go on forever, he knew.


Excerpt from “The New Oxford Historical Dictionary”

(c) 1949 New Oxford University,

Liverpool [Melbourne], Kingdom of Australia

Used with permission.

KAPODISTRIAS, Count Ioannis Antonios (1776-1854). Influential Greek political leader. Born in Corfu (then under Venetian rule). Secretary of State of the Septinsular Republic (Ionian Islands) 1803-1807. Entered Russian service in 1809, filling a variety of diplomatic and military roles culminating in a role of de facto foreign minister 1816-1822. Departed Russian service over dispute for lack of support for Greek revolt. Elected provisional president of Greece in 1827. Negotiated favourable peace terms with Britain, France and New England in 1828, leading to recognition of Greek independence by Ottoman Empire in 1829. Served as prime minister under King Leopold I of Greece from 1830-1841 and again from 1845 until his retirement in 1849. Credited with major reforms of the Greek state. A highly successful diplomat, his most notable post-independence successes were obtaining the Ionian Islands from the United Kingdom in 1834 in exchange for neutrality in the Russo-Ottoman War of 1834-1836, then after the war’s end successfully negotiating with Russia to force the Ottomans to cede Grevena to Greece.


[1] In OTL, Lord Byron died of “marsh fever” – probably pneumonia. Here, he recovers from it, as his initial infection was less severe.

[2] In OTL, in one of the more blatant examples of price-gouging, these frigates ran late and were charged at double the agreed price. This is not what happens in TTL.


Decades of Darkness #45: Too Much To Bear

4 January 1850

The New White House

Knoxville, District of Columbia

United States of America

Colonel William Barret Travis had seen Knoxville before, but he had always detested it. He would have preferred if the United States had kept their capital at Washington, D.C. rather than shifting to an inland location. If the capital had to be moved somewhere further from New England, there were several cities along the Gulf Coast which would have been more suitable.

But Knoxville was the capital now – even if it had been named from a man from Massachusetts, which gossip on the streets indicated was an ongoing source of annoyance. He had come here to receive a new “special assignment”, only to be directed to the New White House to receive instructions directly from President Cass himself.

Yet when he was ushered into Cass’s presence – after spending nearly an hour waiting – the President took some time getting to the point. “Welcome, Colonel Travis. How have you been finding your service in the Texases lately?”

Travis said, “Well enough, Mr President. The Mexican border is quiet. They show little inclination to quarrel with the United States. The Comanches continue to raid, but they have become more peaceful of late.” In fact, he meant that they had mostly been killed or driven into Mexico or the Indian Territory, but President Cass would already know that.

“The Mexicans show little desire to fight the United States, you say?” Cass asked.

Travis nodded. “There is some agitation over Coahuila Territory, but nothing of consequence.” The Spanish-speaking Papists were upset over their exclusion from government, he knew. But that was only fitting. Travis’s new wife Maria was of Spanish blood, but he had made sure that she relinquished Catholicism before he married her.

“There is agitation throughout the northern provinces of Mexico, everywhere between the United States and the Pacific Ocean,” Cass said. “Particularly in California. There are Americans living there, subject to the rule of a weaker race [1]. I am concerned over their status.”

“So you wish me to...?”

“The Army is mounting a “scientific” expedition to California. There are some questions I want answered. Questions such as how badly the U.S. citizens living there want to join the United States. I wish you to offer the United States’ protection to any of them. You will also be authorised to accept the surrender of any Mexican forces who want to join the United States – I am advised that many of the Californians want annexation.”

“And if there is no sentiment to join the United States?” Travis asked.

“Then you shall gather intelligence regarding their dispositions, fortifications, strength, and the best land routes to Mexico,” Cass answered.

Travis nodded, rose and bowed, assuming the meeting was at an end. As he was leaving, Cass said, “Oh, there is one more thing.”

Travis paused. “Yes?”

“Give me California, and I will give you either general’s stars or the governorship of the territory, whichever you prefer.”

Travis smiled as he left.


14 March 1850


California Province

Republic of Mexico

The pounding on the door of his adobe alerted General Mariano Vallejo to what was happening even before he heard the hissing sounds of English wafting up, ordering him to surrender his house to them. He hurridly put on his full dress uniform, attached his medals, then opened the door. “Welcome, gentleman. If you would choose yourself three or four representatives, I would gladly entertain them to breakfast... and wine.”

The would-be conquerors were distinctly non-plussed by his offer. They looked unkempt, dressed in buckskins or rags which they might as well have picked off trees during their crossing to California. A rough lot, to be sure. He hoped there were better types in the United States than this.

After a colloquy amongst the Americanos, three men stepped forward to accept his offer. They were the most well-dressed of the men, in what were probably their work clothes, but they still looked most uncouth. But he fulfilled his duties as a host, seating them and ensuring that the servants brought both food and wine.

Only after the first of the food had been served did Vallejo return to business. “Tell me then, my visitors, what brings you to my house.”

One man said, “We’re here to get your surrender, General. This here land is to go to the United States.”

Vallejo smiled. “But of course, gentleman. Your reply is most prompt, since my letter has not even yet been delivered.”

“Huh?” the first man asked. His two companions made similarly eloquent replies.

Vallejo said, “My letter to President Cass, requesting annexation of California to the United States, of course.” He had been considering this request for over two years, ever since it became clear how badly California would continue to be governed from Mexico City.

The first man said, “Now, why would you go and do a thing like that?”

Vallejo waved a hand, and quietly ordered a servant to collect the letter from its place at his desk. “You gentleman have lived under the rule of Santa Anna – such as it is. You do not need to ask me that question.”

When the servant returned with the letter, Vallejo handed it to the first man, who held it upside down and looked over it. One of his companions murmured, took the letter, and read it quickly.

“This-here Mexican’s telling the God-honest truth. He wants to join the Yew-nited States too.”

Vallejo stood and bowed. “While I hold your patriotism in the highest esteem, I would prefer to surrender my home to the official forces of the United States, not distinguished irregulars such as yourselves.”

There was a long pause as the Americans tried to figure out what he had said. Eventually, one of them asked, “You’re saying you won’t surrender to us?”

“There is no cause, gentlemen,” Vallejo said. “We are both awaiting the same thing: United States’ intervention. If you wish, you may speed my letter on its way to Knoxville, although I was awaiting the return of Kit Carson, as I know of no man more likely to deliver it safely.”

“Um...” The representatives held another long conversation amongst themselves. After a time, one of them stepped forward. “We reckon you should do something to show you’re not part of Mexico, at least. Raise the United States flag.”

“I cannot do that, gentleman, for two reasons. Firstly, this is not yet part of the United States, and thus that would be an improper use of the flag. Secondly, and more notably, I have not yet received a U.S. flag.”

The other man said, “Then let us make you a flag. A new one, to represent California.”

Half an hour of frantic activity lately, a new flag was raised over the adobe. The flag depicted a grizzly bear, crudely fashioned using a mixture of red paint, brick dust and linseed oil...


Extracts from a letter by Colonel William Travis to his wife Maria Travis nee Escobar

Dated 18 September 1850

...The march to California was most taxing on the men. With the guidance of Kit Carson, we were able to traverse the Rockies, but supplies were often running low [2]. On one occasion, we ran out of provisions and purchased food from the Indians. The food we most liked was a kind of brown meal, rich and spicy, and which was so much in favour that the men wanted no other. Except for Kit Carson, who laughed at us when we offered him some. Once the men had eaten, he explained that it was dried grasshoppers pounded into a meal. The men called it rich food like gingerbread, but after learning this they lost their appetites!

And California itself was not what we expected. I had come seeking knowledge, and found a territory already in revolt. They have devised a new flag for themselves, a bear flag, and it flew everywhere. We marched the length and breadth of California, raising the United States flag alongside that of the Bear. We heard not a murmur of protest. We tried to find an enemy, but we could not...


[1] California has seen somewhat more U.S. emigration in 1850 than it received in the early days in OTL, roughly 5,000 citizens, but it has not yet seen the boost of a gold rush.

[2] Kit Carson is still famous as a guide in TTL, but he leads Travis further north, not through the Rockies.


Decades of Darkness #46: Down Mexico Way

Extracts from “United States Foreign Policy 1789-1833: The Northern Obsession”

(c) 1947 William S. Richards

University of New England,

Hartford, Connecticut, New England

University of New England Press.

Used with permission.


The settlement of the Treaty of Lisbon, while hardly favourable to the United States, did include one almost incidental point: recognition of the U.S. gains in Texas and Coahuila. From the allied perspective, this had been merely recognition of a fait accompli. The problems in New Orleans had shown that the United States would not be easily dislodged from Texas. And it did help with the notion of ensuring that every nation felt it had gained something from the war, which was the central New England concern, to avoid the previous feeling of national humiliation which they saw as the major U.S. cause for war. Absent that, they felt, the United States would no longer feel the need to start a new war with them every generation. However, the result of this was a new foreign policy direction in the United States. Frustrated by repeated failures in the north, the United States now turned south. The Northern Obsession which had dominated American politics since their independence was replaced with a Southern Obsession: a desire to displace, defeat and ultimately subjugate their weaker neighbours to the south and southwest.


Excerpts from “The 100 Most Influential Men In World History”

By Alexandra Samotsova [1]

Translated by Alyssa Sherman

St Petersburg, Russian Federation

(c) 1973 Ulyanov & Trotsky Publishing Co., St Petersburg.

Used with permission.

74. Lewis Cass (10th President of the United States).

The reputation of Lewis Cass generates extremely mixed opinions from historians and contemporaries from around the globe. To many Americans, he is their country’s greatest-ever President, although some award his successor that status. He is recognised as the leader who transformed the United States from an unsuccessful rival with Great Britain into a continent-spanning power and gained it the first clear military victory since their nation’s inception. But to others, even some within the United States, he is seen as a cowardly but aggressive expansionist who bullied nations too weak to resist and who forced his country into an unjust war. Of one thing, however, there is no doubt: he was the leader who started the United States on its long road of expansion...


19 August 1850

Fort Bowie [Brownsville, Texas], Jefferson State

United States of America

From his position on the walls of Fort Bowie, General Zachary Taylor could look across the Rio Grande to Matamoros. There, he could see a city bustling with Mexicans, and with Mexican troops in place... while he waited for them to move. President Santa Anna had showed more restraint than Taylor had expected. He had been anticipating the first shots fired on U.S. soil, which would have given President Cass the reason he needed to ask Congress for a declaration of war.

“So why aren’t the Mexicans over here?” Taylor asked the empty air. Already, word had reached them of the “protectorate” which Colonel Travis had established over California. “And here I sit, waiting for the Mexicans to move.”

Taylor was holed up in the fort, his forces ready to defend Jefferson State, yet he had not yet been called on to defend anything. He was protecting Jefferson state while Jefferson himself had been sent to guard Coahuila Territory. Someone back in Knoxville must have been exercising a warped sense of humour when they chose those assignments. But they had also given Davis more of a chance for glory. When the Mexicans attacked, they were more likely to attack into Coahuila Territory, which would give Davis his moment. Taylor whispered, “I hope that this doesn’t turn into a race into Mexico City.” When the time came for the invasion of Mexico, Taylor wanted the glory to be his alone.


5 November 1850

The New White House,

Knoxville, District of Columbia

United States of America

As General-in-Chief of the United States War Department, General Winfield Scott had found himself confined to the city of Knoxville, a place he detested, since the outbreak of the California crisis and now, war. At the best of times, he cordially disliked Knoxville – a city named for a New Englander, of all things, which first Mangum and now Cass had neglected to change. Now, he found himself bound here answering President Cass’s questions about the conduct of the war, and hundreds of miles from the front line, where he wanted to be.

“California is reportedly causing little trouble,” Scott said, trying to sound enthusiastic. In his view, Cass took the “commander-in-chief” role of President far too seriously. “And Colonel Lee – excuse me, General Lee – will soon have completed our annexation of New Mexico.”

Cass waved a hand. “As I expected they would. We were fortunate that Travis’s activities there provoked Mexico into declaring war.”

Privately, Scott thought that it had more to do with the arrogant plenipotentiary which Cass had sent to Mexico City. The President’s actions on several fronts could not have been better calculated to cause a war. And, no matter what the President said, Cass was too intelligent not to realise that. But Scott knew better than to comment openly. The vote for war had been close. Too many Congressmen, even Cass’s fellow Patriots, had opposed the war. If anyone could prove that Cass had deliberately provoked the war, the political struggles would make life difficult.

Cass continued, “But our gains in the north of Mexico mean little. There were very few people in those territories, and many of them were our citizens anyway. It is in Old Mexico that we need to attack.”

“That could be more difficult, sir. Generals Taylor and Davis have both made expeditions into Mexico, but they have not gotten far. It could be a long time before they can conquer Mexico... unless the Mexicans sue for peace.”

“Which I don’t expect,” Cass said. “They have never forgiven us for liberating Texas from them. They will not welcome our acquisition of California either. I expect them to fight for a long time.”

“There may be an alternative,” Scott said.

Cass raised a questioning eyebrow.

Scott said, “A naval assault. Mass our troops in southern Jefferson, and then ship them to Veracruz. Once we have captured that port, the capture of Mexico City will be much easier. Then we can dictate terms to the Mexicans.”

“No,” Cass said. “I forbid any naval assault on Veracruz.”

“Whatever for?” Scott asked.

“The United Kingdom is looking hostile to our war. While they are distracted by events in Europe, I don’t want them to have an easy opportunity to intervene. We cannot risk our armies bogged down inside Mexico and cut off from resupply by the British. While our navy is a very fine thing, we cannot match the Royal Navy.”

Scott nodded, reluctantly. That did make a certain amount of sense. But if Cass had been alert, he would have taken the proper diplomatic steps to ensure that the United Kingdom did not oppose the war. Maybe that could not be done. But, for now, that made the conduct of the war much more difficult.


6 November 1850

Merida, Yucatan

Republic of Mexio

Merida: capital of the state of Yucatan. And now, perhaps, the only remaining city which remained under Spanish control. Governor Santiago Méndez had no knowledge of how many other parts of the peninsula remained in Spanish hands. The indios had proven devastatingly successful in their revolt. He still hoped that Campeche held out, and perhaps Sisal and a few other places as well, but there was no hiding the scale of the disaster.

Méndez tried to imagine where he could turn for aid. Mexico was of little use. They were busy in their war with the norteamericanos. Even then, the continual struggles with the government in Mexico City had left him doubtful of what could be achieved there. Yucatan had tried independence from Mexico before, but the lack of commerce had proven her downfall. What it needed was to become part of a more successful power, one who could conduct proper commerce.

Méndez could think of four such powers who might suffice: the United States, Great Britain, Spain or New England. But the three more distant powers would not want to intervene in Yucatan now, for fear of entering war with the United States. That left only the Americans. And from what he had heard of them, he could be sure that they would know how to keep the indios in place if they protected the Yucatan.

He nodded to himself, then set out to write a letter.


[1] Alexandra Samotsova, and her companion and English translator Alyssa Sherman, writing about the history of influential men came as about as much of a shock as, say, OTL’s Germaine Greer would. Their choice of which historical figures have been most influential is unorthodox, to say the least.


Decades of Darkness #47: South of the Border

5 August 1851


Yucatan Protectorate (American-proclaimed)

Republic of Mexico (recognised)

“Why would anyone want to live here?” Ulysses H. Grant asked himself, as he walked beside the walls of Merida on his way into the city. The heat was atrocious; sweat stained his shirt, even though it was early morning. But he still kept close to the American soldiers escorting him into the city. By all reports, it was not safe to be alone outside the walls of Merida, and perhaps not even inside.

The gates of Merida were well-guarded, with soldiers on duty and artillery in place on both sides. Most of the soldiers were American, but a handful were dark enough that they had to be Mexicans. “Expecting a fight?” Grant murmured.

One of the soldiers on the gate laughed. “Not now. The Indians don’t attack us no more.”

“They’ve learned their lesson,” a second soldier volunteered.

The nearest Mexican muttered something in Spanish, but made not attempt to translate it. Grant did not pause to ask the Mexican what he had said, since he spoke no Spanish himself.

As Grant walked through the streets of Merida, he found a city which did not seem to be functioning well. Few people were in the streets, and most of those skirted wide of the U.S. troops as they passed. So much for the reports that the locals welcomed the Americans, Grant thought.

As the troops entered their barracks, Grant paused to ask the sentries, “Where is General Kearney?” [1]

One said, “And who’s you, that he would want to see you?”

Grant said, “I am Ulysses H. Grant, war correspondent for the Knoxville Register, here to bring news of this mission back to America.”

The sentry said, “And how do we know that you’re you?”

Grant handed over the letter of invitation from General Kearney. It was not addressed specifically to him, but it should suffice.

Sure enough, one of the sentries led him inside the barracks. He had to wait a few minutes, but then he was invited to meet General Kearney. That was much more quick than Grant had expected – he had thought he would not meet the general on the first day, and probably longer - but he went gladly.

Two other men waited in Kearney’s office besides the general: a distinguished-looking Spanish gentleman [2] and a distinctly more grubby fellow who Grant presumed was to act as an interpreter.

Sure enough, when the round of introductions was complete, the distinguished gentleman had been identified as Governor Santiago Méndez, and the interpreter remained nameless.

Through the interpreter, Méndez said, “I am glad to make your acquaintance, Mr Grant. We are very glad to see that the United States have come to Yucatan. I hope that you can express in your writings the gratitude which the people of Yucatan feel.”

The Spanish people, Grant added mentally. He doubted that the Indians down here shared the same feeling. “I will report that. But one thing many of the people in the United States do not understand is why we have come to a foreign country.” Actually, they wondered why President Cass had authorised the invasion while at the same time loudly proclaiming to all the world that the United States was not here to annex the Yucatan.

Kearney said, “We are here to restore order. This is a separate action from the war with Mexico. The Yucatan is, or rather deserves to be, a sovereign state.”

As much sovereignty as President Cass left it, Grant added to himself. And Kearney surely knew as much.

Méndez added, “You will not understand, until you have seen with your own eyes, the chaos which had happened here. The indios have massacred ladinos wherever they find them. They kill us in the thousands, mutilate the bodies and drag them through the streets. We are most grateful that you norteamericanos have come to stop this.”

Kearney said, “I wondered the same things you did, Mr Grant, until I came here myself. No civilised nation could dare to stand by and let such atrocities continue.”

Grant said, “Forgive me if I sound impertinent, but how did this uprising come to take place?”

Méndez spoke at some length. Eventually, his interpreter said, “It was the, the fools in Mexico City. We had never allowed the indios to carry guns, until the old emperor demanded that we arm them to fight in our wars with the Texans.”

“That was a mistake,” Grant said, forgetting for the moment his role in reporting the facts. “We never let our niggers have weapons. They shouldn’t even get the idea that they can fight.”

“The indios here have learned,” Méndez said.

Kearney said, “We will make them unlearn it. It can be hard, but we will assist you in ensuring that it is done.”

“It seems to me that there’s a lot in common with your situation and ours with the niggers,” Grant said. “We’ve learned how to keep them under control. The same methods would work here.”

“We do not class the indios as slaves, the way you do with your Negroes.” His tone sounded contemptuous when he spoke. But then he looked thoughtful, and added, “But they were classed as serfs, I think you would say. Yes, serfs. They are no longer called that, but they kept living that way. Perhaps we should make them serfs again... if it can be done. The jungle is hard to fight in, and there are many of them.”

Kearney said, “They can be defeated. I am sure of that.”


Excerpt from “The New Oxford Historical Dictionary”

(c) 1949 New Oxford University,

Liverpool, [2] Kingdom of Australia

Used with permission.

“Jaguars”: Elite United States infantry force. Originally, this was created as the 1st West Florida Volunteer Infantry (although including men from East Florida and Jackson states), a specialist unit dedicated to operating in jungle warfare. This unit proved remarkably effective in scouting, raids and irregular warfare which the United States carried out in support of the “Yucatan Protectorate”. Although sustaining losses from disease, they became so effective that their Maya opponents likened them to jaguars for their ability to move unseen and strike hard. Other units were added in support of the 1st West Florida throughout the campaign, and they continued to style themselves as “Jaguars”.

After the Yucatan was pacified, the “Jaguars” persisted as an elite United States military fighting force, with a variety of names. Although always informally styled as “Jaguars”, this did not become their official title until 1904. The Jaguars have been at the forefront of many U.S. military campaigns since that time, and continue their role as elite forces, particularly in jungle, and more recently, desert operations.


Extracts from “Marching Into Mexico: The 100th Anniversary of the First Mexican War”

By Benito Harrison,

San Francisco, North California

United States of America

(c) 1950 Liganto Publishing Company, Taylor City

Used with permission.


Politely phrased, the First Mexican War was a walkover, not a war. Nothing less would be expected, naturally, given the nature of the participants. For while in her previous wars the United States had fought opponents whose preparedness for military action matched her own, the United States found in Mexico an opponent which was divided, weaker, and militarily incompetent. Once North California had announced its separation and Mexico declared war on the United States as a result, there were only two questions remaining to be answered: how long would it take the United States to defeat Mexico, and how much territory would the United States claim.

Indeed, from a military point of view, as General Scott observed in his memoirs, “The principal strategic task was preventing the intervention of the European powers”, by which he principally meant the United Kingdom. No other European power could have intervened without the tacit support of Britain, and indeed all of the European powers, including the British, were far more occupied by the German question than by a distant struggle in North America.

If it had been the United States which declared war, rather than the Mexicans, then matters would have become more complicated. Britain was less likely to intervene given the reluctance of both New England and Canada for war, but she might possibly have done so. The expansion of the frontlines to the Yucatan caused some concerns, but these were addressed thanks to some adroit American foreign policy, documenting the atrocities committed by the Indians against the other inhabitants of the Yucatan.

Thus, without any hope of foreign support, Mexico had to face the war it had wrought. Given the circumstances, it was surprising that she held out for as long as she did. The impact of disease on the march to Mexico City was certainly significant, particularly the most notable casualty of the war, General Zachary Taylor. It took nearly eighteen months of fighting before the United States forces under General Jefferson Davis finally raised the Stars and Stripes over Mexico City, ending the major combat phase of the war...


[1] Although originally a New Jerseyan, Kearney was one of those who shifted to the USA during the post-war migrations.

[2] Grant, of course, is not entirely up to speed on the differences between “Spanish-speaking” and “Spanish”, or, for that matter, the difference between “blanco” and “mestizo”, or many other subtleties of Yucatan culture.


Decades of Darkness #48: The Treaty of the Monarch Butterfly



The United States of America and the United Mexican States animated by a sincere desire to put an end to the calamities of the war which unhappily exists between the two Republics and to establish upon a solid basis relations of peace and friendship, which shall confer reciprocal benefits upon the citizens of both, and assure the concord, harmony, and mutual confidence wherein the two people should live, as good neighbors have for that purpose appointed their respective plenipotentiaries, that is to say: The President of the United States has appointed John Middleton Clayton, a citizen of the United States, and the President of the Mexican Republic has appointed Don Luis Gonzaga Cuevas, Don Bernardo Couto, and Don Miguel Atristain, citizens of the said Republic; who, after a reciprocal communication of their respective full powers, have, under the protection of Almighty God, the author of peace, arranged, agreed upon, and signed the following:

Treaty of Peace, Friendship, Limits, and Settlement between the United States of America and the Mexican Republic.


There shall be firm and universal peace between the United States of America and the Mexican Republic, and between their respective countries, territories, cities, towns, and people, without exception of places or persons.


Immediately upon the signature of this treaty, a convention shall be entered into between a commissioner or commissioners appointed by the General-in-chief of the forces of the United States, and such as may be appointed by the Mexican Government, to the end that a provisional suspension of hostilities shall take place, and that, in the places occupied by the said forces, constitutional order may be reestablished, as regards the political, administrative, and judicial branches, so far as this shall be permitted by the circumstances of military occupation.


Immediately upon the ratification of the present treaty by the Government of the United States, orders shall be transmitted to the commanders of their land and naval forces, requiring the latter (provided this treaty shall then have been ratified by the Government of the Mexican Republic, and the ratifications exchanged) immediately to desist from blockading any Mexican ports and requiring the former (under the same condition) to commence, at the earliest moment practicable, withdrawing all troops of the United State then in the interior of the Mexican Republic, to points that shall be selected by common agreement, at a distance from the seaports not exceeding thirty leagues; and such evacuation of the interior of the Republic shall be completed with the least possible delay; the Mexican Government hereby binding itself to afford every facility in its power for rendering the same convenient to the troops, on their march and in their new positions, and for promoting a good understanding between them and the inhabitants. In like manner orders shall be despatched to the persons in charge of the custom houses at all ports occupied by the forces of the United States, requiring them (under the same condition) immediately to deliver possession of the same to the persons authorized by the Mexican Government to receive it, together with all bonds and evidences of debt for duties on importations and on exportations, not yet fallen due. Moreover, a faithful and exact account shall be made out, showing the entire amount of all duties on imports and on exports, collected at such custom-houses, or elsewhere in Mexico, by authority of the United States, from and after the day of ratification of this treaty by the Government of the Mexican Republic; and also an account of the cost of collection; and such entire amount, deducting only the cost of collection, shall be delivered to the Mexican Government, at the city of Mexico, within three months after the exchange of ratifications.

The evacuation of the capital of the Mexican Republic by the troops of the United States, in virtue of the above stipulation, shall be completed in one month after the orders there stipulated for shall have been received by the commander of said troops, or sooner if possible.


Immediately after the exchange of ratifications of the present treaty all castles, forts, territories, places, and possessions, which have been taken or occupied by the forces of the United States during the present war, within the limits of the Mexican Republic, as about to be established by the following article, shall be definitely restored to the said Republic, together with all the artillery, arms, apparatus of war, munitions, and other public property, which were in the said castles and forts when captured, and which shall remain there at the time when this treaty shall be duly ratified by the Government of the Mexican Republic. [2] To this end, immediately upon the signature of this treaty, orders shall be despatched to the American officers commanding such castles and forts, securing against the removal or destruction of any such artillery, arms, apparatus of war, munitions, or other public property. The city of Mexico, within the inner line of intrenchments surrounding the said city, is comprehended in the above stipulation, as regards the restoration of artillery, apparatus of war, & c.

The final evacuation of the territory of the Mexican Republic, by the forces of the United States, shall be completed in three months from the said exchange of ratifications, or sooner if possible; the Mexican Government hereby engaging, as in the foregoing article to use all means in its power for facilitating such evacuation, and rendering it convenient to the troops, and for promoting a good understanding between them and the inhabitants.

If, however, the ratification of this treaty by both parties should not take place in time to allow the embarcation of the troops of the United States to be completed before the commencement of the sickly season, at the Mexican ports on the Gulf of Mexico, in such case a friendly arrangement shall be entered into between the General-in-Chief of the said troops and the Mexican Government, whereby healthy and otherwise suitable places, at a distance from the ports not exceeding thirty leagues, shall be designated for the residence of such troops as may not yet have embarked, until the return of the healthy season. And the space of time here referred to as, comprehending the sickly season shall be understood to extend from the first day of May to the first day of November.

All prisoners of war taken on either side, on land or on sea, shall be restored as soon as practicable after the exchange of ratifications of this treaty. It is also agreed that if any Mexicans should now be held as captives by any savage tribe within the limits of the United States, as about to be established by the following article, the Government of the said United States will exact the release of such captives and cause them to be restored to their country.


The boundary line between the two Republics shall commence in the Gulf of Mexico, three leagues from land, along the line of the 22nd line of latitude north of the equator, and proceeding inland until this line shall intersect the western border of the extant Mexican state of Veracruz, and then proceed north until it shall intersect the current border between the Mexican states of Veracruz and Tamaulipas; thence, following the border of Tamaulipas west and north as it shall proceed until the western-most border of said state intersects the 25th line of latitude north of the equator; thence proceeding west until it meets the Gulf of California, then extending westward until three leagues from land. The entirety of the provinces of Upper and Lower California, such as lie across the Gulf of California from the said border, shall be included within the United States.

In order to designate the boundary line with due precision, upon authoritative maps, and to establish upon the ground land-marks which shall show the limits of both republics, as described in the present article, the two Governments shall each appoint a commissioner and a surveyor, who, before the expiration of one year from the date of the exchange of ratifications of this treaty, shall meet at the port of Tampico, and proceed south to the agreed line, and then run and mark the said boundary in its whole course to the Gulf of California. They shall keep journals and make out plans of their operations; and the result agreed upon by them shall be deemed a part of this treaty, and shall have the same force as if it were inserted therein. The two Governments will amicably agree regarding what may be necessary to these persons, and also as to their respective escorts, should such be necessary.

The boundary line established by this article shall be religiously respected by each of the two republics, and no change shall ever be made therein, except by the express and free consent of both nations, lawfully given by the General Government of each, in conformity with its own constitution.


The Government of Mexico recognises the independence of the former state of Yucatan, which shall form for itself an independent Government as its people wish. Until such time as this government shall be formed in the Yucatan, the people of Yucatan shall be under the protection of the United States, which shall endeavour to protect all life and property within this region, and to preserve order.

The border between Yucatan and Mexico shall be the Rio Usumacinta, between the border with Guatemala and the Gulf of Mexico.


Mexicans now established in territories previously belonging to Mexico, and which remain for the future within the limits of the United States, as defined by the present treaty, shall be free to continue where they now reside, or to remove to the Mexican Republic, retaining the property which they possess in the said territories, or disposing thereof, and removing the proceeds wherever they please, without their being subjected, on this account, to any contribution, tax, or charge whatever.

In the said territories, property of every kind, now belonging to Mexicans not established there, shall be inviolably respected. The present owners, the heirs of these, and all Mexicans who may hereafter acquire said property by contract, shall enjoy with respect to it guarantees equally ample as if the same belonged to citizens of the United States. [4]


The Mexicans who, in the territories aforesaid, shall not preserve the character of citizens of the Mexican Republic, conformably with what is stipulated in the preceding article, shall be incorporated into the Union of the United States, and be admitted at the proper time (to be judged of by the Congress of the United States) to the enjoyment of all the rights of citizens of the United States. [5]


Considering that a great part of the territories, which, by the present treaty, are to be comprehended for the future within the limits of the United States, is now occupied by savage tribes, who will hereafter be under the exclusive control of the Government of the United States, and whose incursions within the territory of Mexico would be prejudicial in the extreme, it is solemnly agreed that all such incursions shall be forcibly restrained by the Government of the United States whensoever this may be necessary; and that when they cannot be prevented, they shall be punished by the said Government, and satisfaction for the same shall be exacted all in the same way, and with equal diligence and energy, as if the same incursions were meditated or committed within its own territory, against its own citizens.

It shall not be lawful, under any pretext whatever, for any inhabitant of the United States to purchase or acquire any Mexican, or any foreigner residing in Mexico, who may have been captured by Indians inhabiting the territory of either of the two republics; nor to purchase or acquire horses, mules, cattle, or property of any kind, stolen within Mexican territory by such Indians.

And in the event of any person or persons, captured within Mexican territory by Indians, being carried into the territory of the united States, the Government of the latter engages and binds itself, in the most solemn manner, so soon as it shall know of such captives being within its territory, and shall be able so to do, through the faithful exercise of its influence and power, to rescue them and return them to their country. or deliver them to the agent or representative of the Mexican Government. The Mexican authorities will, as far as practicable, give to the Government of the United States notice of such captures; and its agents shall pay the expenses incurred in the maintenance and transmission of the rescued captives; who, in the mean time, shall be treated with the utmost hospitality by the American authorities at the place where they may be. But if the Government of the United States, before receiving such notice from Mexico, should obtain intelligence, through any other channel, of the existence of Mexican captives within its territory, it will proceed forthwith to effect their release and delivery to the Mexican agent, as above stipulated.

For the purpose of giving to these stipulations the fullest possible efficacy, thereby affording the security and redress demanded by their true spirit and intent, the Government of the United States will now and hereafter pass, without unnecessary delay, and always vigilantly enforce, such laws as the nature of the subject may require. [6]


In consideration of the extension acquired by the boundaries of the United States, as defined in the fifth article of the present treaty, the Government of the United States engages to pay to that of the Mexican Republic the sum of twenty millions of dollars.

Immediately after the treaty shall have been duly ratified by the Government of the Mexican Republic, the sum of five millions of dollars shall be paid to the said Government by that of the United States, at the city of Mexico, in the gold or silver coin of Mexico. The remaining fifteen millions of dollars shall be paid at the same place, and in the same coin, in annual installments of three millions of dollars each, together with interest on the same at the rate of six per centum per annum. This interest shall begin to run upon the whole sum of fifteen millions from the day of the ratification of the present treaty by--the Mexican Government, and the first of the installments shall be paid-at the expiration of one year from the same day. Together with each annual installment, as it falls due, the whole interest accruing on such installment from the beginning shall also be paid.


The United States do discharge the Mexican Republic from all claims of citizens of the United States, not heretofore decided against the Mexican Government, which may have arisen previously to the date of the signature of this treaty; which discharge shall be final and perpetual, whether the said claims be rejected or be allowed by the board of commissioners provided for in the following article, and whatever shall be the total amount of those allowed.


Each of the contracting parties reserves to itself the entire right to fortify whatever point within its territory it may judge proper so to fortify for its security.

[The OTL treaty included five articles (XVIII to XXII), regarding treatment of prisoners, collection of customs duties during the period of occupation, and provisions for citizens in each other’s territory during the potential outbreak of future war, which are more or less identical in this treaty. If you’re interested in reading these provisions, they can be found at: /aztec/guadhida.html].


This treaty shall be ratified by the President of the United States of America, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate thereof; and by the President of the Mexican Republic, with the previous approbation of its general Congress; and the ratifications shall be exchanged in the City of Washington, or at the seat of Government of Mexico, in four months from the date of the signature hereof, or sooner if practicable.

In faith whereof we, the respective Plenipotentiaries, have signed this treaty of peace, friendship, limits, and settlement, and have hereunto affixed our seals respectively. Done in quintuplicate, at the city of Zitacuaro, on the fifteenth day of February, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty-two.






[1] This treaty is based quite closely on the OTL Treaty of Guadalupe-Hildago, but with appropriate changes made to indicate the change in the character of the United States in TTL.

[2] Strangely enough, most of the artillery, munitions and apparatus of war which the Mexicans thought had been in their fortifications when captured by the Americans had, in fact, mysteriously vanished shortly before said captures, and could not be located despite the most vigorous searching by American troops.

[3] I’d appreciate commentary on the plausibility of the selected borders; basically, I’m assuming that the USA wants a line at roughly the 25th parallel, but including the Gulf coast down to Tampico. What boundaries they’d specify is an interesting question, however. The maps I can find don’t make it very easy to specify what a realistic border would be – I suspect it would involve an appropriate river as the westernmost portion of the border.

[4] The OTL equivalent article in this treaty allowed Mexican inhabitants of the former territories to have the option of become U.S. citizens. In this treaty, they are not afforded that option.

[5] Again, the OTL article to this treaty specified that Mexicans who were waiting to be admitted to the US as citizens would in the meantime include all rights of liberty, property, and freedom in exercise of religion. These clauses are not included in the ATL treaty.

[6] The OTL treaty made some commitments about not dispossessing Indian inhabitants of the former Mexican territories. No U.S. government in TTL would make such a commitment.


Decades of Darkness #49: A House Divided

Text of the Independence Day Address of New York State Senator Abraham Lincoln, delivered on 23 July 1852, the forty-second anniversary of New England’s independence [1]

“Two score and two years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in the Liberty which had been forfeit in our former state, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

“Now we are engaged in a great debate, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We all declare for liberty; but while we use the same word we do not all mean the same thing. For the truth of a man’s measure lies not in the words which he proclaims, but rather the deeds he performs. In our southern neighbour, the United States, we see men who loudly proclaim “liberty”, but live without it, and extol the virtues of “justice”, yet deliver it not. And well must we ensure that our own beloved Northern confederacy does not follow that route!

“For, gentleman, a house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this nation cannot endure, permanently half in liberty and half in despair. I do not expect our nation to be dissolved – I do not expect the house to fall – but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Either we can deliver liberty to all within our borders, or we can steadily deny it to all. It remains for us gathered here to be dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom.

“No man of good conscience can deny the lack of liberty which has developed in our nation. In our own good state of New York, all men of sound mind may choose whom they wish to lead them, and any man of suitable years may seek office within this state. Yet if a man be not born within this nation of ours, he may not seek any office over New England. If a man cannot become part of the government, then that government is not his.

“If we venture outside of New York, we will find that liberty is denied to far too many men in our nation. In most of our nation’s States, a man’s wealth determines whether a man can be part of the government, or not. Why should liberty be denied to a man who has no wealth? This leaves half our nation in despair while those who have property ensure that those who do not are held from government. A government should be for all its citizens, not just half. And how can this be so when one man in seven is excluded from any representation at all? Our fellow citizens in Michigan and Nova Scotia [2] cannot choose for themselves representatives to govern them, in the nation’s interest.

“These errors must be remedied, so that a true confederacy may be born, one where all men are indeed equal. Let us unite our nation in the pursuit of Liberty. With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us, let us finish the work our fathers began, and create a nation where government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”


Popular and Electoral Vote for President in 1850

From “1810-1910: A Century of New England Political History”

(c) 1912 by William H. Baldwin

Sandler Publishing Company, Long Island

The 1850 presidential elections have been called, with some justice, the most controversial elections in New England’s history. The period was rife with political confusion. The Federalists, who had dominated New England politics for most of the first four decades of its history, had found their vote crumbling of late. With the restoration of cordial relations with the United States, the Republicans had gained in strength. Agitation for reform was also growing within both major parties, leading to the emergence of the Radical Party [3] as the first serious threat to the two-party system in New England’s history. During Van Buren’s presidency, the radical elements within the Republicans had felt disenchanted that their reform agenda was not pursued. The outbreak of war between the United States and Mexico also led to some fear of the United States again, although there was also relief that the USA had decided to look away from New England.

In this backdrop to the election, three presidential candidates emerged: Robert Charles Winthrop, Massachusetts (Federalist Party), William Lewis Dayton, New Jersey (Republican Party), and Thomas Wilson Dorr, Rhode Island (Radical Party).

By State By Electoral Votes

State Win. Day. Dorr Win. Day. Dorr

Connecticut 20,981 11,444 5,722 10 0 0

Maine 34,752 17,376 5,792 13 0 0

Massachusetts 60,061 30,030 10,010 22 0 0

Long Island 38,595 57,893 32,163 1 1 1

New Hampshire 12,313 11,665 8,425 8 0 0

New Jersey 21,304 35,506 14,202 1 11 0

New York 140,109 147,294 71,851 3 47 0

Rhode Island 9,359 1,462 3,802 5 0 0

Vermont 15,224 13,956 2,537 7 0 1

Total 352,697 326,626 154,504 70 71 2

After the election results were announced, but before the electoral college met, it had been assumed that the Republicans had narrowly carried the election, since if all the electors had remained faithful, then Dayton would have received 76 electoral votes, where 72 were required. There had been faithless electors before, but this was the first occasion their actions determined the results of an election.

With Dayton falling one vote short of the required total, the election was sent to the House of Representatives, to decide between Winthrop and Dayton. The arguments were complex. Winthrop had gained the largest number of votes, clearly outweighing Dayton, but the Radicals had more sympathy for the Republicans. In the end, a bitterly divided House of Representatives nominated Winthrop to become the 11th President of New England, but his term would be riven with controversy...


Extracts from a letter written by Thomas Wilson Dorr to Abraham Lincoln, dated 18 November 1852

I believe as you do, that our nation’s present state is not what our founders intended. Too many of our people still chafe under restrictions which are almost as bad as those which led our fathers to break from Washington. Entire peoples in Michigan and Nova Scotia have no say in our nation’s affairs, and in many other states too many men are prohibited from voting. I do not believe that this is what Pickering or the other founding fathers had in mind when they drafted the Constitution.

The present unhappy state of our people is something of which we should be mindful, but the signs have been there for years. Admitting states has never been easy. Even Long Island was long kept shackled to New York, despite the wishes of its people, thanks to filibusters from a handful of states. Maine was a rare exception. Yet still over half a million of our citizens in Michigan have no representation in Congress. They have been denied representation for years because a few senators argue about whether they should be represented as one state or two! [4]

I feel that too many of our people wish to emulate the United States. Not in their abominable traffic in human misery, but in their growth. That, we will never match. This was true even before their recent acquisitions in Mexico. Nay, I think we should concentrate on making our nation a better place for its citizens to inhabit. As for the United States, let us stay in friendship beside them... and keep our alliance with Great Britain to preserve us in case that friendship sours.


[1] New Englanders date their independence from the day when the delegates from the Boston Convention returned to that city and issued writs calling for elections.

[2] The events of 1845 have been retconned so that New England purchased Nova Scotia (after a plebiscite), but not southern Ontario or New Brunswick.

[3] The Radical Party is an outgrowth of the Republican Party. It consists of the merger of certain elements of the Republican Party who left after the War of 1833, when the Republicans were tainted with accusations of being pro-American, and a more recent split led by advocates of more dramatic reform than even most Republicans can countenance.

[4] The New England Constitution requires the approval of two-thirds of both Houses of Congress before a new state can be admitted. This is often quite difficult to achieve.


Decades of Darkness #50: For Kaisers and Country

17 May 1942

United German Studios

Berlin, German Empire

“Actie!” screamed the director, somewhere off to the left.

Hans Lüchel, playing the young Otto von Bismarck, turned slowly toward the camera, ensuring that they caught his face in profile before he spoke. “War is not the answer.”

“We are already at war,” said Adolf Goebbels, playing Heinrich von Gagern [1]. “And we are winning, despite the perfidious French and the Russians seeking to break up our confederation.”

Both actors paused for a moment, to allow the time required for where other brief scenes would be inserted into the finished production of “The Life of the Iron Reichs Chancellor” [2]. One had already been filmed, where Karl von Schmidt played the illustrious General von Wrangel, whose troops raised the black, red and gold tricolour with its three-headed eagle over Verdun. The second, yet to be filmed, would show Russian prisoners of war being marched into captivity after the great victory at Tannenberg.

“Our armies are victorious, yes, but that is not enough,” Lüchel said. “We cannot afford a war that lasts forever. We face war on two fronts, and the British have not yet joined in, but they will.”

“How, then, should we act? Surrender?”

Lüchel said, “Far from it. Consider. Though France and Russia and Britain be allies of sorts in this war, they do not have the same aims. France wants the southern Netherlands for herself, yet Britain does not want her to have them. France wants Hungary to become a nation to itself, yet Russia wants to take much for herself and leave the rest to us. If Russia does that, she would loom over the Turks, and weakening us too much would mean that there would be no-one to stop the Russians marching to Constantinople. Our solution should be obvious.”

“I do not see it,” Goebbels said.

Lüchel smiled slowly, taking care that the cameras showed it properly. “The secret to diplomacy is to ensure that your opponents hate you slightly less than they hate each other.”


Extracts from “The Confederation War: Germany versus Europe?”

(c) 1915 by Milton Branson

Richard Allen & Sons Publishing Company,

London: United Kingdom of Great Britain

The Confederation War of 1852-1853 marked the start of the rise of the German Reich as a major military power; the first of a long string of victories to its present position dominating the Continent [3]. It did not represent complete German victory – far from it – but it ensured the survival of the German Confederation as a united entity.

While the Confederation War is usually described as a case of the rest of Europe attempting to break up the German Confederation, this vastly over-simplifies the realities of the war. Most of the fringe powers of Europe kept entirely out of the war – Spain, Greece, and Sweden – and even Britain contributed only financial support.

At its heart, the war represented France’s efforts to break up the German Confederation, and thus ensure its continued existence as the dominant military land power in Western Europe. Russia’s support for this campaign was half-hearted at best. For while Nicholas I felt somewhat threatened by the rise of the German Confederation, he had no great affection for Republican France either, and Russia had historically enjoyed good relations with both Prussia and the Netherlands, two of the great powers within the Confederation. His main quarrel was with Austria only, and even then there was room for negotiation. The French acceptance of Denmark as a member in the anti-German alliance also worried him, for it meant that the Danes wanted to recapture Schleswig-Holstein, a territory they had no legal right to acquire.

The British position was more complicated still. Then as now, Britain believed in maintaining the balance of power on the Continent, which was changed by the rise of the Confederation. However, the emergence of a solid Franco-Russian alliance was not in Britain’s interest either, and thus the British hope was that the Confederation would be weakened, but not weakened too far. This was exemplified by Britain’s other main historical objective: preserving the North Sea coast so that it was not part of the territory of any Great Power. However, this objective had been blocked by the formation of the Netherlands, and while the Dutch firmly preserved their autonomy within the Confederation, they had no strong desire to leave it entirely. It was also threatened by the prospect of a decisive French victory, which would leave them free to acquire the southern Netherlands, including Antwerp. Given the relatively recent French war against Britain [5], this was not something any British government would feel comfortable with. Ideally, they would have preferred an independent Southern Netherlands, but this was something which would be rejected by both Germany and France.

The war aims of the allied powers were thus extremely confused. To be sure, there were areas where all agreed on the preferred outcome, such as weakening Austrian control of the northern Italian-speaking lands. But these were minor areas, and points which the allies would be willing to abandon if they proved too difficult.

Given such disparate war aims, it is not surprising that the anti-German alliance, such as it was, did not last long in the face of military defeat. For when war broke out, it demonstrated that the French had opened military operations too quickly. Their armies were not prepared, they had no firm plans, and they as yet lacked a General Staff to organise their war efforts. Russian war experience since 1815 had also been limited to fighting militarily inept opponents such as the Ottoman Empire, and thus Russia also was not prepared for a war with another major European power.

On the other hand, the Prussian, Austrian and Dutch armies were war-ready, having recent experience in fighting revolutionaries. The lesser German states had not yet melded their armies into one unified force, but they had enough contingents to provide support to the greater German powers. The German victories were devastating in their effectiveness. On the western front, the Prussians and Dutch quickly reached Verdun, while in the east the Prussians and Austrians inflicted a series of stinging defeats on the Russians, culminating in the victory at Tannenberg. With the German military competence rapidly demonstrated, Nicholas was ready to listen to a particularly generous proposal from Frankfurt [5], conceding most of the Ottoman Empire as a Russian sphere of influence in exchange for peace. And then the fall of the Second French Republic brought a swift end to the war...


[1] Who fills a role roughly equivalent to the Speaker of the House in the U.S. House of Representatives.

[2] The Reichs Chancellor is the head of the largest political party in the Reich – effectively a prime minister, although he is only head of government, not head of state.

[3] To Branson’s thorough-going British perspective, dominating the Continent meant just that, dominating the mainland of Europe, not the British Isles per se [4].

[4] But by the same token, even if Germany did dominate Britain, don’t expect Branson to admit it.

[5] A proposal delivered as a “suggestion” to the Holy Roman Emperor, whose role was to represent the Reich in foreign affairs, and who duly passed it on, recognising the advantages.


Decades of Darkness #51a: A Matter of Patriotism

The Presidential Elections of 1852

From “The Atlas of American Political History”

(c) 1946 By Karl Wundt

Lone Pine Publishing Company

Hammersford [Salem, Oregon], Oregon State

United States of America


The 1852 elections saw the struggle between the Patriots under President Lewis Cass and the Democrats under Kentucky Governor James Guthrie, who had the unenviable task of trying to defeat a president who was still riding the electoral wave of elation over the most successful war the United States had fought since their independence. As Election Day drew near, the question became increasingly whether Guthrie would carry any states...

Popular Votes Electoral Votes

State Cass Guthrie Cass Guthrie

Alabama 16,082 15,764 11 0

Arkansas 5,365 6,557 0 4

Delaware 4,697 2,529 3 0

East Florida 2,380 2,794 0 5

East Texas 9,051 7,405 5 0

Georgia 24,089 31,932 0 17

Illinois 30,927 20,618 12 0

Indiana 29,766 19,844 11 0

Iowa 12,664 6,819 4 1

Jackson 1,819 2,618 0 3

Jefferson 6,683 6,169 4 0

Kentucky 36,628 44,767 0 20

Louisiana 12,622 11,193 9 0

Maryland 25,039 17,400 12 0

Mississippi 10,598 11,951 0 9

Missouri 23,824 20,295 11 0

North Carolina 31,446 25,729 17 0

Ohio 134,870 57,802 40 0

Pennsylvania 113,783 48,764 34 0

South Carolina 15,028 13,872 12 0

Tennessee 44,750 35,160 20 0

Virginia 47,378 45,520 26 0

Washington 14,131 12,531 7 0

West Florida 13,738 15,492 0 8

Westylvania 50,294 21,555 16 0

Total 717,651 505,078 254 67


Extracts from the private diary of U.S. President Lewis Cass

Dated 17 July 1852 [1]

Now that we have acquired our conquest, fairly won before God, we next must ask how we can organise it. For this, the former people of Mexico can be thankful that a Democrat does not occupy the New White House, or they would remain in limbo forever [2]. We must arrange it in such a way that it is appropriate to the peoples who reside therein. The Yucatan must be left alone, for now. It is in too much disorder to become part of the United States. But the other acquisitions require reorganisation. Some parts are easily clarified. North and South California merit Territorial status, without question. So, perhaps, do the former lands of Neuvo Mexico. So also does the Gulf Coast [3]. But the rest is likely to remain until it is more ripe for organisation [4]. It may also be time to clarify the northwest, which has been left alone for so long. We need to survey that border properly, and arrange a more defensible border with the British. Fools though the British are, they remain powerful fools, and all-out war with them is not useful.


Excerpt from “The New Oxford Historical Dictionary”

(c) 1949 New Oxford University,

Liverpool [Melbourne], Kingdom of Australia

Used with permission.

Columbia Treaty: A treaty signed by the United Kingdom and the United States in 1853, during one of the few thaws in relations between these powers during the nineteenth century. The treaty codified the Canadian-American border, including a survey to establish landmarks. The survey confirmed the border along the 46th parallel, except for the Pacific Northwest, where the boundary was set along the Columbia River. [5]


24 July 1853

The Knoxville Register

EDITORIAL: The threat of free Negroes

There can be no doubt remaining in the mind of any right-thinking American: the free Negro has no place within the United States. This has been clear to men of good sense for many years, but how can any man doubt it now? We have seen slaves revolt and come to near the very steps of the Capitol [6]. This is a threat to good order and the harmony of the races, and it comes about because of the existence of free blacks when the fellows are in chains, where they belong. Were it not for the fallacious example of their unchained brethren, the slaves would feel naught of a need to revolt. Free Negroes led the revolt and incited their fellows to falsely seek freedom. This travesty has endured beyond its time. Let the free Negro leave these shores and return to Africa whence his fathers came, or let him put back on the slave chains to assume his proper place in his society of betters.

Senator Robert B. Rhett has vowed to introduce into Congress special legislation, preparing a constitutional amendment that will mandate the expulsion or re-enslavement of all free Negroes within the territory of the United States. It is the responsibility, nay, it is the duty of every legislator, both within our federal Congress and within each of the sovereign States, to support this amendment so that our Constitution may forever include the only right relationship between the races.


The Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States was ratified by the Missouri Legislature on 14 December 1854, the 19th state to do so, and went into force on 4 March 1855. [7]

Section 1

The free negro [8] presenting a clear and present danger to the security of the United States, to the individual States, and to the federal territories thereof, the Congress of the United States is hereby granted power to legislate for the removal or re-enslavement of such persons, as it shall so determine.

Section 2

After this amendment shall be ratified, then the Congress of the United States will be entitled to pass an Act requiring said removal, but there shall be a period of not less than three years between the date of ratification and the re-enslavement of any negro who had previously been free within the borders of the United States.

Section 3

If, after the period legislated by Congress has expired, a negro be found within the territory of the United States, or the territory of one of the sovereign States, who is not the property of one of its citizens, or the property of a citizen of a foreign Power whose own laws provide for such rights of property, then that person shall be deemed to be liable for re-enslavement or removal, according to the wishes of the Governor of the sovereign state, if that person be found within the territory of said state, or according to the wishes of the Congress of the United States, or any officers which either of these parties may deem fit to appoint to make such judgements.


[1] Some historians are of the opinion that Cass wrote even his private diary in the expectation that it would become publicly viewed some day.

[2] ITTL, the Democrats showed no great interest in organising federal territory into organised Territories in preparation for statehood (largely because most of their voting base came from the more established states, and many of the western territories were expected to vote Patriot on statehood).

[3] These were duly organised in 1853 as North California Territory [most of northern California], South California Territory [some of southern California and Baja California, Mexico], New Mexico Territory [including New Mexico, Arizona, and the rest of the northern Mexican acquisitions], and Tamaulipas Territory [Tamaulipas, Mexico and the northern parts of Veracruz, around Tampico].

[4] Viz, until it has more white men in it.

[5] While the British are still not all that friendly to the United States, they welcome the opportunity to settle what could have been a potential source of friction in the future, especially given that at the time they were worried over events in Europe.

[6] A reference to a relatively minor slave revolt, but one which was symbolically important because of its location within the federal capital.

[7] This is, to put it mildly, a swift ratification, but an indication of the level of hostility present in the United States. TTL has already seen massive free black emigration to Liberia (not always voluntary) even before this amendment made it officially required.

[8] This amendment does not specifically define “negro”; however, expect Congress to provide such a definition based on the “one drop” rule.


Decades of Darkness #51b: A Matter of Democracy

Excerpts from “The 100 Greatest Events That Changed The World”

By Josiah H. Canterbury, Richard Irving and Emily Vasquez

(c) 1950, Vanderbilt Press

New York City: Long Island, New England


“Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it. Those who do study it fail mathematics instead.”

- Attributed to Lord Percy Kelvin, 1st Prime Minister of Australia

Choosing a defining moment in history is never easy. There are so many significant events to choose from that assessing the relative weight of each one can present grave problems. Some events capture the public imagination more than others. Wars, and the triggers of wars, are particularly favoured. But how does one choose the decisive moment? The event which triggered the war is often remembered, but wars start from multiple causes, and if a particular event had not happened, some other cause may well have triggered the war. Similarly, during the course of a war, a particular battle may be well-remembered, but who is to say that a different result at that battle might not have been nullified by another battle later. Consider, for example, Napoleon’s victory at Waterloo. Though he proclaimed it as a significant victory, he was in exile soon thereafter.

Many other decisive events may pass unnoticed to the public eye, or be less well-remembered. Johann Gutenberg’s invention of movable type is probably the most significant event of the past millennium, but how many people today even recognise his name? Social events such as the invention of contraception or the first country granting female suffrage are equally important, but often earn less notice.

Perhaps an even greater challenge is selecting the defining event for a long-term trend. This book focuses on single events, but often these events are merely one small part of a major pattern. Take the rise of Germany, first as a united nation, then to the status of a great power, and eventually to the status of superpower. This is a historical trend which deserves at least one, perhaps more events to mark it, but which moments should we choose? The moment when Germany made the transition from great power status to superpower status is easy to define – when her armed forces managed a feat which had not been achieved in over eight and a half centuries, and abolished another nation’s ambitions to superpower status – and has been given a suitably high ranking. But there were many steps along that road, starting with the formation of the German Confederation in 1815, the first successful combined military operation in 1834, the establishment of a common legislative structure, the first defeat of another great power, the unification of the ruling houses, and so on. Selecting which, if any of these events to include was a difficult choice...

15. U.S. President Jefferson Davis’s “Manifest Destiny” Speech, 1859

We have chosen this speech because no other single moment so clearly marks the rise of American expansionism. When tracing this movement, it is clear that there are trends which date even to before the United States became a nation, such as the desire to expand across the Appalachians. And, to be sure, there was a thread of military expansionism prevalent in the United States from very early on, as demonstrated by the War of 1811, the War of 1833 and the First Mexican War.

Nonetheless, while the same expansionist attitude was demonstrated in all three wars – albeit most successfully in the last instance - it did not include the same flavour of outright conquest and annexation which was to mark the United States’ later activities. Even when the First Mexican War was over, the United States still recognised the Mexican government and negotiated a treaty which, while harsh, left Mexico a sovereign state and included payment for the territory that was annexed. Thus, as the defining moment for this trend, we have chosen the speech by the first U.S. President to preside over the annexation of a sovereign state... [1]


The Presidential Elections of 1856

From “The Atlas of American Political History”

(c) 1946 By Karl Wundt

Lone Pine Publishing Company

Hammersford [Salem, Oregon], Oregon State

United States of America


The 1856 elections represented a three-cornered struggle between the two dominant parties, the Patriots and the Democrats, and the fervently anti-immigration Freedom Party. Despite the surprisingly strong showing of Tennessee Senator John Bell, the Freedom Party made no significant impact on the elections. Instead, it was the war hero General Jefferson Davis, born in Kentucky but resident in West Florida, who put aside his uniform for civilian clothes, and won the election for the Democrats, the first president from that party since Jackson. Former vice-president Samuel Houston could not withstand the steady trend against the Patriots, almost inevitable after so many years in office, and particularly given Davis’s great military reputation.

Popular Votes Electoral Votes

State Houston Davis Bell Houston Davis Bell

Alabama 16,610 25,352 1,748 0 11 0

Arkansas 5,236 9,490 1,636 0 4 0

Delaware 4,761 3,174 1,984 3 0 0

East Florida 2,770 4,190 142 0 5 0

East Texas 13,778 8,357 452 5 0 0

Georgia 23,067 51,517 2,307 0 17 0

Illinois 31,836 26,176 12,734 12 0 0

Indiana 31,323 24,513 12,257 11 0 0

Iowa 14,441 8,290 4,011 5 0 0

Jackson 1,888 4,080 122 0 3 0

Jefferson 7,938 9,349 353 0 4 0

Kentucky 35,750 55,859 20,109 0 20 0

Louisiana 15,363 16,670 654 0 9 0

Maryland 17,475 14,562 26,212 0 0 12

Mississippi 10,523 19,808 619 0 9 0

Missouri 27,855 29,672 3,028 0 11 0

North Carolina 38,453 36,099 3,924 17 0 0

Ohio 113,336 79,335 34,001 40 0 0

Pennsylvania 107,090 55,457 28,685 34 0 0

South Carolina 13,883 24,196 1,587 0 12 0

Tennessee 48,259 58,131 3,290 0 20 0

Virginia 47,178 75,230 5,100 0 26 0

Washington 16,467 19,395 732 0 7 0

West Florida 12,437 27,281 401 0 8 0

Westylvania 48,181 28,739 7,608 16 0 0

Total 705,898 714,925 173,695 143 166 12


The Columbia Register

5 March 1857


... Alert readers of this newspaper will realise that we have taken the immediate liberty of renaming it, in accordance with the recent name change announced by President Davis in his inauguration address. As he stated, “If I have a superstition, sirs, which governs my mind and holds it captive, it is a superstitious reverence for the Union. If one can inherit a sentiment, I may be said to have inherited this from my revolutionary father. And if I my father were alive today, he would surely scorn that our nation’s glorious capital bears the name of a trumped-up Yankee from Massachusetts. Let this city rejoice instead in the name of Columbia, a more fit appellation than its predecessor.”


Excerpts from “Great American Speeches”

(c) 1946 By Peter van Buren,

Bear Flag Publishing Company

Los Angeles, North California

United States of America

President Jefferson Davis’s address to Congress after the annexation of Nicaragua, 1859

“Our forefathers, in the sacred Declaration of Independence, stated that all men are created free and equal. On this basis has been made recent attack upon our social institutions, and invoked a position of the equality of the races. But that Declaration is to be construed by the circumstances and purposes for which it was made. The communities were declaring their independence; the people of those communities were asserting that no man was born -- to use the language of Mr. Jefferson -- booted and spurred, to ride over the rest of mankind; that men were created equal -- meaning the men of the political community; that there was no divine right to rule; that no man inherited the right to govern; that there were no classes by which power and place descended to families; but that all stations were equally within the grasp of each member of the body politic.

“These were the great principles they announced; these were the purposes for which they made their declaration; these were the ends to which their enunciation was directed. They have no reference to the slave or the other unfree peoples; else, how happened it that among the items of arraignment against George III was that he endeavored to stir up insurrection among our slaves? Had the Declaration announced that the Negroes were free and equal, how was the prince to be arraigned for raising up insurrection among them? And how was this to be enumerated among the high crimes which caused the colonies to sever their connection with the mother-country? When our Constitution was formed, the same idea was rendered more palpable; for there we find provision made for that very class of persons as property; they were not put upon the equality of footing with white men -- not even upon that of paupers and convicts; but, so far as representation was concerned, were discriminated against as a lower caste, only to be represented in the numerical proportion of three-fifths. So stands the compact which binds us together.

“To this compact we have lately had cause to add a new class; those who are not yet, but who may become, free. Some have advanced the claim that here were have abandoned the wisdom of our forefathers who framed the Constitution. Yet to this I have the simple answer: we are not abandoning the Constitution, rather, we are extending and clarifying it. Even our founding fathers proclaimed not two classes of society - slave and free - but instead, they revealed three: slave, free, and Indian. To this latter class was accorded neither the class of slave which is the only just position for the Negro, nor the freedom which is the fitting status of the white race, but a role in between. And to this class we have recently seen fit to add others, where those in our southern territories whose blood is not that of the white race have instead been granted roles more fitting to their status. Their role has not yet been universally accepted, but it shall be.

“For now, gentlemen, we have seen a new path open up for the United States. We have always been strong; this we have known, despite the attempts of others of the white race to thwart us. But before us stretches a new path, shown by the actions of how merely a few members of the white race, endowed with greater strength than that of the lesser races of mankind, have been able to fly our beloved Stars and Stripes over first the jewel of the Caribbean, and now over the former Nicaragua. God has shown us the path; the route by which the white race shall take and hold its rightful place above others in the struggle between races. Let us not forget what He has shown us! It is the manifest destiny of the United States and the American race to dominate all of this new world we have been granted, to drive out and to conquer the lesser races and savages who currently people it. It is our destiny to grow, to bring these continents into the leadership of the white race so that they can grow in prominence and in power, until all of these lands are one nation under God.”


[1] These authors, like many others, do not class Texas as ever being a sovereign state.


Decades of Darkness #52: Over The Fine Dark Sea

28 November 1854

Aboard the HNLMS Sieg

South China Sea,

Southwest of Formosa

The wind held steady from the southwest, allowing the Sieg to hold a course under sail, instead of using the new steam engines with their discreetly concealed funnel. Kapitein ter Zee [Captain] Gillis Fokker had served with the Dutch Navy for more than twenty years, and while the official designation of his ship had altered - now it was part of the German Navy - that had not changed his views of the superiority of sail over steam. Steam was a wondrous invention to help with those occasions when a ship was becalmed or had contrary winds, but it severely limited the range of a ship which relied on it. At least the new designs allowed him to use both wind and coal, as the situation called for it.

Above him, the black, red and gold tricolour of the German Confederation flapped in the breeze. The naval design did not include the same three-headed eagle of the official Confederation flag, and which the Deutschleger flew, although there was talk of including it. A few of the sailors also called that flag the tricolour of the Reich, not the flag of the Confederation, but Fokker knew better. The Netherlands remained a sovereign state, and although she had combined her navy with that of the other German powers, she had not surrendered her independence.

Of course, the current mission was a joint one, not a task for the Dutch alone, and some of the ships were crewed by other Germans. The ships of the German Navy in practice represented the fleets of Prussia, the Netherlands and small contributions from the minor German powers. The Austrians had their own fleet in Trieste, but while that had been redesignated the Mediterranean squadron of the German Navy, it was crewed by Austrians, and officered by Austrians. They had not sent so much as a token ship to this expedition, the first overseas venture of the combined German Navy.

“They should have done more,” Fokker muttered. This operation had been planned even before the war in Europe had ended, and long before the thirty-nine princes of the German Confederation were expanded to forty [1]. He would have expected them to be more interested in acquiring colonies overseas, since the Austrians had none, and this was to form the first combined German colony. It would substantially add to the prestige of the Confederation, and thus the Holy Roman Emperor should have encouraged the idea. The addition of another colony meant less to Fokker personally, since the Netherlands already had substantial colonial interests, and stood in a good position to acquire more of their own.

“Land!” went up the cry from the masts. Fokker raised his telescope to his eye. Sure enough, the cloud-shrouded sight of Formosa could just be made out in the distance.

“At last,” Fokker murmured. It had been nearly two hundred years, but now the Dutch were returning to Formosa [2]. From here, they could put a stop the pirates which had been hampering commerce to Nagasaki and elsewhere, and restore their long-abandoned claim to Formosa. Alongside the other Germans, of course.


Excerpts from “The 100 Greatest Events That Changed The World”

By Josiah H. Canterbury, Richard Irving and Emily Vasquez

(c) 1950, Vanderbilt Press

New York City, Long Island, New England

78. Rear Admiral Fokker’s Expedition to Nippon, 1856

“Six ships, five captains, four flags, three diplomats, two cannonades and one treaty.”

- The entirety of the first report on his expedition prepared by Rear Admiral Fokker, as it was sent to Frankfurt.

We have chosen this moment because of the two things it marked: the rise of the German Confederation as a global power, and it ensured that Nippon did not fall to the same expansion of colonialism which most of the world was to receive, but instead became a great power in its own right.

Fokker’s expedition to Nippon - the famed ‘six black ships’ - was brief, but the effects of that visit still linger today. His demonstration of cannon power and steam power - none of these ships used sails - was enough to secure a full treaty with Nippon, abrogating the earlier restrictions on trade to Nagasaki. Nippon had been forced open, and other European and European-descended powers were to follow with their own demands for trade access. This certainly led to a period of weakness for Nippon, but in the end gave it the opportunity to modernise and take its own place in the world.

Before Fokker’s visit, this was an outcome which few might have expected. The rise of the German Confederation (and later, German Empire) was perhaps inevitable, and choosing Fokker’s visit is merely a convenient way of marking that growth to a global level. The Germans had already gained Formosa, and were joining in the ‘Scramble for Africa’ and broader colonial expansion which would follow. But the remarkable part was that Nippon did not get absorbed in this growth.

On the face of it, Nippon might have been expected to succumb to colonialism in the same way the various other non-European powers were to fall. Colonialism had been going on for centuries, and was a habit which even countries of European descent acquired. The list of colonial powers is long: Britain, Russia, France, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands (later Germany), Denmark, Sweden, Italy, the United States, Brazil, and various countries within the British Empire pursuing their own colonial ambitions, such as South Africa and Australia.

Between them, these powers were carving up the globe. By the mid-1850s, India had already fallen, the Ottoman Empire was marked for death (the only question was whether she would fall into Russian or British hands), and substantial inroads had been made into Africa, Central America, and the Caribbean. The Far East and the Pacific were the last targets. China had begun to be beaten into submission by the British, and Nippon might well have been next. The British and the Russians would have been likely to seek to acquire it before too much longer. Instead, the Fokker expedition allowed Nippon to become opened, but not colonised, and thus take its own place in the colonial race...


28 October 1856

Fort Zeelandia, Formosa [Tainan, Taiwan] [3]

Here in Formosa, far beyond the civilized world, Schout bij Nacht [Rear Admiral] Gillis Fokker had been finding himself remarkably lonely of late. To be sure, he had plenty of men around him, but few who could offer civilized conversation. His recent venture to Nippon had been rewarding for what he had gained for the Confederation, but he had found even less enjoyable conversation during that expedition.

So he was glad to welcome the visiting ships from New England, here on what was described as a goodwill visit, although he was not yet sure what the real reason for the trip was. Certainly, it would be most unusual for Admiral Perry, the most senior officer in the New England Navy, who was well-known even in Europe for his exploits during the last Anglo-American War, to be stopping by such an isolated outpost merely for a goodwill visit. Particularly with a fleet consisting of only one battleship and two frigates.

He treated the New England naval officers to a formal dinner, with all of his own officers, which went reasonably well, despite the difficulties in language. A few of his men spoke English, although the hideous New England accents where much harder to understand than the British accents they had learned the language from. Fokker himself had acquired a little of the language during a long-ago visit to North America, but he had forgotten most of it. For their part, many of the New Englanders spoke a variety of German dialects, most of which were close enough to Dutch for Fokker’s own officers to understand.

The New England Admiral, however, turned out to speak the new standard dialect, Neudeutsch, which had been devised in Frankfurt and been encouraged everywhere in the armed forces. Fokker had been overseas for so long he had had no chance to acquire it, and doubted he would want to. From what he had heard of the language, it sounded as if a committee of braying mules had been appointed the duty of finding the worst parts of every German dialect, and combining them into one language which could only be spoken comfortably by a frog. He much preferred the Dutch dialect, and devoutly hoped that the combined German Navy did not adopt Neudeutsch as its official dialect.

Thus, when Fokker retired discreetly to a separate room to hold a private conversation with the New Englander admiral, he took the precaution of bringing one of his own English-speaking officers to interpret. He cast about for a neutral topic to begin the conversation, not wanting to come straight out and ask what really brought Perry to Formosa. Eventually, he said, “Did you have a pleasant voyage from New York?” Fokker did not actually know if these ships had come from there, but named the only New England port he knew.

Perry nodded. “Extremely uneventful. The only challenge was before we set out, trying to decide which flag to fly.”

Fokker said, “Why should that be a difficulty?”

Perry said, “Because we recently admitted two new states, and, by rights, that should have changed our flag. But no-one has worked out how to fit eleven stars onto our flag easily, so we still have the old flag.” [4]

Fokker laughed. “Be glad you don’t have four flags to choose which you should fly on any given day.”

Perry smiled, then said, “And which flag did you fly when you visited Nippon?”

“All of them, of course,” Fokker said. But his flagship had flown only the Dutch flag. Then he paused. “How did you know about our journey there? It can’t have been known when you left port.”

“We heard of it in the Sandwich Islands,” Perry said. “A very great thing you have done, opening Nippon again. I expect that we shall be sending our own expedition there someday.”

Not if we can do anything about it, Fokker thought. He made a mental note to recommend that steps be taken to keep the New Englanders out of Nippon. Trade with them should be for the benefit of the German Confederation, and the Netherlands in particular, not for some uprooted British vassals. Aloud, though, he said, “If you did not know about our venture to Nippon, what brought you here to Formosa?”

Perry drummed his fingers on his leg before answering. “Have the Russians given you any trouble here?”

Fokker said, “Not at all. They operate more in the north, around Korea and Alaska.”

Perry said, “It’s Alaska that interests me. Now that war looms between Russia and Britain, we want to-” The interpreter stopped him at that point, then relayed the words to Fokker.

“I know nothing of that war,” Fokker said.

Perry said, “Russia looms over the Turks, and Britain will oppose them. Perhaps France as well, depending on what side of bed the French Emperor gets out of on the day when war is declared. What side of the conflict the German Confederation will take, I am not sure, but I hope they will join us.”

Fokker carefully kept his face neutral. He had no great love for Russia, but he had received quiet instructions not to stir up any trouble with them around Formosa. That surely meant some kind of accommodation had been reached. Remembering the abrupt end to Russian participation in the Confederation War, and now this news of Russian designs on the Ottomans, Fokker had no trouble guessing what that accommodation was. “I will follow instructions from Frankfurt, of course, whatever those instructions might be.”

Perry looked disappointed. “I hope that doesn’t mean that one day we stand on opposite sides of battle.”

Fokker said, “Personally, I would dislike that. But even if war comes, I would not have expected New England to become involved.” From his trip to North America, years before, he remembered both New England and the United States as being proud of their separateness from the affairs of Europe.

“Not in Europe, naturally. But the Russians are in Alaska. If war comes, they may be fighting Canada. And that would require us to intervene.”

“If war comes, then, I hope we do not stand on opposite sides,” Fokker said, sincerely. He had no wish to start a war with these New Englanders, although he was certain that the Dutch Navy would be a match for them.

“To peace, then,” Perry said, raising his glass.

“To peace,” Fokker said, and drank.


[1] i.e when Elsass/Alsace became a member state of the German Confederation after the end of the Confederation War.

[2] The Dutch ruled the southern half of Taiwan for a while in OTL, but were expelled in 1662.

[3] This was the name the Dutch gave to the fort during their previous colonisation attempt in the seventeenth century. They have reinstated it here for reasons of pride.

[4] The flag of New England is a red Cross of St George on a white background, with a blue canton and white stars in a circle. It currently has nine, to represent the nine states, but is trying to redesign it to include eleven stars in a convenient arrangement. Some have proposed redesigning the flag to have them arranged in a square or lines rather than a circle, which has caused the dispute.


Decades of Darkness #53a: A Collection of Butterflies

From “The Whitman Encyclopaedia: Volume 23: Famous Americans (7th Edition)”

Editor-in-chief Dr Emilio Johnson

(c) 1949, Aztec Publishing Company

Mexico City, Mexico State,

United States of America

SMITH, Junius. Lawyer, entrepreneur, pioneer of ocean steam navigation, and founder of America’s tea industry. Born in Plymouth, Massachusetts, on 2 October 1780. Died in Charleston, South Carolina, 24 May 1857. In 1802, Junius Smith graduated from Yale University, Connecticut, New England (then still part of the United States). Smith established an early reputation as an excellent orator and barrister. His effective practice of law led to his appointment to pursue a case against the British government for the seizure of an American merchantman. He successfully pleaded the cases, receiving a large damages award. This trip to London is credited with creating his mistrust of the British, which was only aggravated by the continued British seizure of American vessels during the Napoleonic wars.

On his return to Connecticut, Smith established a variety of commercial ventures, particularly in exports. He experienced considerable success, but found his operations interrupted by the outbreak of the War of 1811. He passively resisted New England secession throughout the war, and then migrated to Charleston, South Carolina in the aftermath of the war. Here he continued his commercial operations, and achieved even greater success, despite being branded in some quarters as “an American Yankee”. He had particular success as a shipbuilder in Charleston’s burgeoning shipbuilding industry, including some commercial vessels but more for military vessels under Navy Secretary Clay’s naval expansion program. His innovations included the use of bonded labour [1] in shipbuilding, although this remained limited in scope until the post-War of 1833 expansion of bonded labour in manufacturing.

Smith developed an interest in the potential for steam-powered vessels. He began the project in 1827, and released a prospectus in 1829, founding a joint American-British-New Englander steam navigation company [2]. His construction of the first commercial vessel was interrupted by the outbreak of war, and the British-New Englander military raids caused further damage to his shipyards. However, he returned to the project after the war, and the successful transatlantic voyage of the “Concord” in 1839 was largely the result of his efforts. His navigation company continued to prosper throughout his life.

Smith’s other major contribution to the United States was his successful pioneering of the tea industry in South Carolina. The tea plant had been available in South Carolina since 1799, when it was accidentally delivered in a shipment to the botanist Andre Michaux, but its commercial potential had been ignored for decades. Smith had purchased a plantation at Golden Grove some years before the War of 1833. During his enforced idleness after the outbreak of war and the stalling of his commercial endeavours, Smith turned his attention to his plantation, and the cultivation of tea. His first plants were established in 1834, and the first harvest was delivered in 1837. Smith proved an adept marketer, and demand for tea in both the local market and exports proved substantial [3]. Indeed, tea was so successful a commercial product that it was the only cash crop that could outmatch cotton for rates of return on investment, and tea planters rapidly joined the social elite of South Carolina and, later, Georgia.

Junius Smith himself did not devote all his attention to tea plantations, maintaining his widespread commercial interests on both sides of the Atlantic. He remained a curious figure in South Carolina society: wealthy and generous by any measure, unfailingly polite, but still regarded as a “Yankee”, and noted for treating his slaves kindly, to the point where some accused him of giving them de facto freedom. In the twilight of his life, Smith was one of the few established men [4] in South Carolina to oppose the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment [which authorised Congress to re-enslave or expel all free blacks within the United States] and subsequent Expulsion Act. He died one of the wealthiest men in North America and, indeed, in the world.

DECATUR, Commodore Stephen. Naval commander. Born in Sinepuxent, Maryland on 5 January 1779. Died at sea on 5 December 1840. Although born in Maryland, Decatur was raised in Pennsylvania, and early in his life saved his mother from assault by a drunkard. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy at the age of 16 and served there for all of his adult life. He distinguished himself by a variety of actions during the War of 1811. After the war’s end, he continued to serve in naval actions such as the mission to Algiers and some of the brief anti-piracy raids during the 1820s. In the War of 1833, he had more of an administrative role in the Board of the Navy, but assumed responsibility for direct command of naval vessels in the Chesapeake after the death of Commodore Warrington. After the war ended, he returned to an administrative role. Decatur’s end was appropriate for such a decorated naval veteran: he toured the naval units during the Pirate Wars and was killed in action during an engagement near St Martin, and buried at sea.

BALDWIN, Matthias William. Manufacturer and philanthropist. Born in Elizabethtown, New Jersey, 10 December 1795, died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 8 August 1864. With an excellent aptitude for intricate machinery, Baldwin found himself apprenticed to a firm of jewellers in Frankford, Pennsylvania, just as the War of 1811 was breaking out. As Philadelphia was spared most of the effects of the war, he served out his apprenticeship within the United States. With the death of several family members during the invasion of New Jersey, Baldwin had no interest in returning to the new nation of New England after his apprenticeship was concluded, and established his own business in Philadelphia in 1819. He patented a new method of gold-plating which was highly successful, and then established American manufacture of book-binders tools and printers rolls.

Baldwin’s most noted inventions, however, were in the field of steam engines. During the late 1820s he developed an interest in this technology, and designed a stationary engine for his own works. This engine received such widespread acclaim that he turned his attention to locomotive engines, and in 1832 developed an excellent locomotive, nicknamed “Ironsides”, for use on the railroads. The outbreak of war and rebellion in Pennsylvania hindered its adoption, and Baldwin himself was suspected of sympathy to the rebels. After the war, although his locomotive design was being used in both the United States and New England, he found it convenient to distance himself from Pennsylvania for a time, to avoid any condemnation for involvement in the attempted revolution. He spent some time in Washington, D.C. during the rebuilding, and was invited on a U.S. trade mission to Brazil. Here, he quickly realised how the economy of Brazil would benefit by the introduction of railroads, and on his return to the USA established a joint American-Brazilian company to import locomotives to Brazil (of his own design, naturally). The development of railroads in Brazil during the 1840s is credited with a large part of that nation’s economic expansion, particularly the coffee boom.

In later life, Baldwin stood for the Pennsylvania legislature – the suspicions of rebel sentiment having eventually faded away – and was elected there in 1858. He served as a representative for two terms before retiring, and died in 1864.

BIRNEY, James Gillespie. Politician and presidential candidate. Born in Danville, Kentucky, 4 February 1792, died in Biloxi, West Florida, 1 February 1861 .One of history’s rarities, an American presidential candidate who advocated the abolition of bonded labour. Of Irish descent, and educated in New Jersey – which is often regarded as the source of his antislavery notions – Birney migrated to Alabama and opened a cotton plantation in the burgeoning territory after the War of 1811. He was notably unsuccessful at this venture, due to a disinclination to allow his overseers to perform their role [5]. His plantation continued to struggle for a number of years, and he eventually became an absentee landlord while he set up a legal practice. From here, he was elected to the Alabama Legislature, where his advocacy of gradual emancipation put him at odds with most of his fellow Alabamians, but which led him to join the American Colonization Society. He eventually abandoned that Society, too, apparently disgusted at its role in organising the transportation of convicted criminals to Liberia. Even his opponents respected him, however, and in 1840 and again in 1844, Birney sought election as president. He received only a handful of votes in each case. Disillusioned, he abandoned Alabama and spent the remainder of his life in West Florida, where he unsuccessfully opposed the expansion of slavery into the shipbuilding industry.


[1] i.e. slaves. Bonded (or indentured) labour is a catch-all term used by many American writers to include all the varieties of chattel slaves, convicts, peons, serfs, debt-slaves and contracted labour variously employed throughout the United States, but in this period, slaves were the only form of indentured labour.

[2] This was established during the brief thaw in American-New Englander relations under the Sanford presidency.

[3] In OTL, Junius Smith introduced tea later, during 1848, and although it was commercially successful, the venture ended with his death. Here, the changed circumstances mean that he introduces it earlier, and it becomes an established part of South Carolina’s industry.

[4] i.e. slaveowner.

[5] viz, he did not want them to use the lash. Birney is not quite as vehemently anti-slavery in TTL as he was in OTL – he didn’t marry Agatha McDowell, who had an influence on his anti-slavery sentiments – but he remained a staunch opponent of it.


Decades of Darkness #53b: Footnotes of History

This is the first part of the second-round offers for “Where Are They Now”. I’ve included most of the requests, but some were born too far post-POD to make an appearance.


Charles Francis ADAMS (1807-present). Born into one of New England’s most famous political families, Charles Adams’s politics were even more radical than those of his father. He spent some time in Russia during his youth, while his father served as minister to St Petersburg, and became fluent in the language. On his return to New England, he was educated at the Boston Latin School and then Harvard University, graduating in 1826. He established a flourishing legal practice in Boston, which was interrupted by the outbreak of the War of 1833. After the war, he sided with the more radical factions of the Republican Party, making a public and highly acrimonious split from his father John Quincy Adams, when the younger Adams joined the Whig Party. He remained a minor player in politics until the growing political agitation of the late 1840s led to a more dramatic split within the Republican Party, with the radical elements of that party combining with the Whigs to form the Radical Party. Adams became the vice-presidential candidate on Thomas Dorr’s Radical ticket, although they failed to carry a single state. After the election, President Winthrop invited Adams to take the diplomatically sensitive post of minister to Russia, which Adams accepted. As of 1855, Adams was busy in St Petersburg, trying to defuse the growing anti-British sentiments within the Russian Empire.

John ADAMS III (1803-1854). Son of John Quincy Adams, the younger Adams had an undistinguished career as a student, twice coming close to expulsion from Harvard due to his less than stellar academic performance and extra-curricular activities. He commenced a legal practice in Boston, but was forced to close this practice in 1826 due to dire financial straits – it was rumoured that his father had to intervene to save him from bankruptcy. Adams lurched from crisis to crisis for the next seven years, until he joined the Continental Army after the outbreak of war in 1833. He made a popular, although less than gifted, officer, rising to the rank of major by the war’s end. Adams was one of the soldiers in the New England contingents who operated in the Michigan Country, including the liberation of Detroit. After the war, Adams’ military reputation, and his honoured name, was enough to win him office in the Territorial Legislature in Michigan. He found a new voice as a political speaker in this new territory, arguing at length for the admission of Michigan as a state. He was elected Governor of the Michigan Territory in 1847. His opposition to splitting Michigan into multiple states was one of the factors leading to the rejection of the Territory’s most recent application for statehood in 1850. In 1854, Governor Adams was taking part in an inaugural tour of a new steam-powered ship, which was to operate on the Great Lakes, when the ship was sunk in a storm. His body was never recovered.

John Quincy ADAMS (1767-1848): The US minister to the Russian Empire during the War of 1811, he was involved in the peace negotiations that followed. Adams returned reluctantly to Massachusetts, where he retired from public life for a number of years. He returned to public life during 1817, when he was one of the founders of the Republican Party. He was an unsuccessful candidate in the 1818 and 1822 presidential elections. However, his proposals for improved highways and canals were largely adopted by the successful President Dana in 1823. He was appointed Secretary of State under President Sanford in 1827, but removed from office with the election of President Seymour in 1831. In the aftermath of the War of 1833, Adams tried to hold the Republican Party together, but ultimately failed as the most pro-American members fled to form the Whig Party. Elected to the Massachusetts Senate in 1841, Adams served out the remainder of his life as a distinguished member of that body. He collapsed from a stroke in 1848, in the midst of a speech urging the Senate to ratify the proposed constitutional amendment ending the “natural born” restrictions on federal office, and died two days later. He never learned that the Senate rejected his request.

Jean Louis Rodolphe AGASSIZ (1807-present). Distinguished Swiss and New England scientist. Born in Montier in Switzerland, and educated in Germany, Agassiz first distinguished himself when he served under the great Cuvier. Agassiz adopted Cuvier’s philosophy of catastrophism and animal classification. Agassiz distinguished himself as an authority on fossil fish, on the presumed glaciation of large parts of Europe and North America, and as a staunch opponent of Patrick Matthew’s theory of natural selection. From virtually the year of its publication, Agassiz staunchly opposed the theory. He migrated to New England in 1844, accepting a professorship at Harvard, and continued his staunch opposition to Matthism as both a social and scientific theory. His vehement tirades are sometimes credited with contributing to the rejection of the theory in New England academic circles. In 1855, Agassiz is currently seeking to create a great “Museum of Comparative Zoology” in Boston.

Robert ANDERSON (1805-present). U.S. soldier. Born in Kentucky in 1805, and a graduate of Wilkinson Military Academy in 1825, Anderson entered service in the artillery. He distinguished himself with his service in the Michigan theatre in the War of 1833, until he was transferred to New Orleans in preparation for an expected British attack in 1836. Many military historians credit him, not then-Colonel Jefferson Davis, with winning the Battle of New Orleans by his effective use of artillery. He finished the war as a major, and continued a distinguished career during the First Mexican War, where his artillery unit was the first one to fire shots into Mexico City. Although he was encouraged to begin a political career after the war, he declined to do so, and as of 1855 had attained the rank of Colonel and was serving with the 2nd Artillery in Tamaulipas Territory.

John James AUDUBON (1785-1851). French-American businessman and entrepreneur. Born in Santo Domingo, the bastard son of a French plantation owner and his mistress, Audubon was raised for his early life in France. He was sent to America in 1803 to escape conscription. He showed an interest in drawing birds, and some of his sketches were noteworthy. However, after the birth of his first child, Victor Gifford Audubon, in 1809, he began to become more concerned with achieving financial stability than with his unprofitable hobby [1]. He went into business, running a dry-goods store in Kentucky, almost untouched by the War of 1811, and continued operating a variety of moderately successful businesses in Kentucky and, later, Illinois. He spent his last years in senility, dying in 1851.

Stephen Fuller AUSTIN (1793-1849). Born in Virginia and raised in Missouri, the precocious Austin was elected to the territorial Legislature of Missouri in 1813, and was re-elected to that position each year until its admission as a state in 1817. Austin was elected as a representative of Missouri in that year, and continued to serve in the Missouri House of Representatives until 1826, when he was appointed to the state Senate. He continued as a Senator until 1835, when he was elected as governor. There was some talk of nominating him for the vice-presidency of the Patriots in 1840, but he lost the vice-presidential nomination to George Dallas, and again in 1844 (to Lewis Cass). Austin died in 1849 at the age of 56.

Roger Sherman BALDWIN (1793-present). New England lawyer and politician. A prominent lawyer in New Haven, Connecticut, Baldwin became notorious for his anti-slavery stance, adopting a number of cases where he argued for the rights of fugitive slaves to remain in New England rather than being returned to the United States. Although he avoided politics for much of his life, he accepted an invitation from Martin van Buren to seek the Republican vice-presidential nomination for the 1846 elections. Despite his powerful arguments, Baldwin failed to carry Connecticut as a state, although Baldwin became Vice-President anyway. His continual anti-slavery stance caused considerable disquiet within the Republican Party, many of whom wished to ensure cordial relations with the United States. Baldwin defected to the Radical Party in 1848, a courageous but ill-timed move which probably cost him the opportunity to win the presidency. Baldwin failed to achieve the presidential nomination for the Radicals in 1850, and withdrew from politics, although he is agitating again during the 1855 elections.

Rev. Dr. George BANCROFT (1800-present). Born in Worcester, Massachusetts, Bancroft was educated in Europe but returned to New England and followed his father’s footsteps into the church. In 1855, he was residing in Nova Scotia Territory, where his preaching was very well-received.

Phineas Taylor BARNUM (1810-present). Born in Bethel, Connecticut. Entrepreneur, showman, and agitator, Barnum’s career has seen more rises and falls than an ocean jetty. His commercial career has seen him open shows and close them; his political career has seen him elected to the Connecticut House of Representatives, then resign the day after he was re-elected. (Some said this was to avoid news of a potential scandal involving the wife of another Representative). Barnum’s public profile continues to rise with every passing year.

Robert Woodward BARNWELL (1801-present). Prominent South Carolinian planter, educator and lawyer. Educated at Beaufort College, South Carolina, but shortly after he graduated described it as a ‘third-rate university, not worthy of American students’ [2]. He managed the family plantation for a time after graduating, but found himself drawn to the question of education. Determined that the United States needed advanced educational facilities to match those of New England, Barnwell diverted much of the family fortune into sponsoring a new university near Greenville, South Carolina. Barnwell University (Robert Barnwell never being plagued by any sense of modesty) opened its doors to students in 1832. Barnwell ran the university for its first twelve years, where it thrived despite competition from the two great Virginia universities. In 1844 Barnwell turned his attention to politics, where he sought and won election to the South Carolina House of Representatives. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1846, and to the Senate in 1848. By 1855, he is a distinguished member of the U.S. Senate, and there is discussion in Democratic circles of securing him the nomination as Vice-President, alongside the clear choice as presidential candidate, Jefferson Davis.

Judah Philip BENJAMIN (1811-present). Born in what was then the Danish West Indies, and which became part of the U.S. Caribbean Territory, Benjamin moved with his parents to Georgia, and then to South Carolina. He became one of the first alumni of Barnwell University, studying law. He initially set up a legal practice in Wilmington, North Carolina, but he moved to what was then Jefferson Territory in 1842. Benjamin became a noted citizen of Jefferson, and was nominated to join the U.S. Senate on Jefferson’s admission to the Union in 1842. He served as a senator for eight years, resigning in 1850 to accept President Cass’s nomination for him as a member of the U.S. Supreme Court. He is still serving on the bench in 1855.

Thomas Hart BENTON (1782-1858). Soldier, planter and politician. Born in North Carolina, Benton typified the adventurous young Southern gentlemen who sought to develop a new land for himself in the open frontier – a tradition which the United States was long to continue. He distinguished himself as a Tennessee planter, then, during the War of 1811, as an aide-de-camp to General Wilkinson. After the war, he left the family plantation to his brother, and migrated to the future Washington Territory. His brilliant oratory gave him a large following throughout the Territory. After Washington’s admission as a state in 1827, he became the new state’s first senator, and continued to hold that office for the rest of his life. Sometimes referred to as the uncrowned king of Washington, virtually nothing which passed in that state happened without his approval. He encouraged the development of Washington, and indeed of the entire west. He was one of the most vocal supporters of President Jackson’s support of Texas during the War of 1833, when most people thought it folly to start a second war, and his sponsorship of land distribution to encourage settlement into the Southwest. He advocated the telegraph, interior highways, and a transcontinental railroad. Most importantly for U.S. history, he advocated the greatest possible expansion of U.S. territory. Initially, he had championed expansion in the Pacific Northwest, but after the experience of 1833, he abandoned that idea and pushed for greater southern expansion. He enthusiastically argued in favour of war with Mexico during the First Mexican War, and demanded a negotiator who would gain the maximum possible territory. In the fading days of his life, in 1857, he pressed for the annexation of Cuba in support of the filibusters who had already entered the island. He died in Columbia City on 12 April 1858, the longest-serving Senator in U.S. history.

Simon BOLIVAR (1783-1852). South American general and statesman: Bolivar was one of the envoys sent in the unsuccessful diplomatic mission to Britain in 1811. On his return, he became a spectacularly successful general, despite occasional reversals. He was proclaimed President of the Republic of Colombia [Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, and Ecuador], and assisted in the liberation of Peru. Colombia was spared from the worst of the European counter-revolutions, and Bolivar was able to defeat most of the attacks even before the French withdrew. The European invasions proved a distraction from the brewing civil wars within Colombia. Bolivar did his best to hold together Colombia from the pressure of Venezuelan separatists, but was forced to concede its independence in 1848. He died in 1852, one of the most honoured of statesmen.

Charles Louis Napoleon BONAPARTE [Napoleon III] (1808-present). Son of King Louis Bonaparte, King of Holland. Involved in three failed coup attempts against King Louis-Philippe, but spared imprisonment as his cousin drew the blame. He became a leading member of the Second Republic after the February Uprising. He was nominated as president in the aftermath of the Confederation War, and promptly seized power to establish the Second Empire. In 1855, he is consolidating his power as French Emperor, and musing on ways to achieve national greatness under the shadow of the three-headed eagle.

Napoleon Francis Joseph Charles BONAPARTE [Napoleon II] (1811-present). Son of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and his second wife, Archduchess Marie Louise of Austria. Napoleon II was kept as a virtual prisoner in Austria until 1834, when with the accession of King Louis-Philippe in France, he was granted freedom to leave. Napoleon II was reportedly linked to three failed coup attempts within France, the last in 1843, and was imprisoned there. After the February Uprising in 1849, he was swept to power as the President of the Second Republic, only to oversee the defeat of France during the Confederation War in 1852-1853. He went into exile in England, leaving power to his cousin, Charles Bonaparte, and in 1855 he remains a bitter, disappointed émigré. He is harbouring thoughts of carving out a new French empire in the Pacific, where he thinks there may be more chance of displacing the Germans.

Orestes Augustus BROWNSON (1803-present). Prominent New England minister, philosopher and social commentator. His life consisted of a series of religious episodes, with a constant thread of rejecting divine revelation and the strict authority of religion. He briefly flirted with the transcendentalist movement in the 1830s, but abandoned that movement when he felt it amounted to little more than empty talking. He continues to advocate improving society through the abandonment of Christianity, secular education and humanism. He is one of the few prominent New England thinkers to accept Matthism as a theory, although he rejects some of its social applications, and many of his writings have been used by the growing Radical movement within New England.

James BUCHANAN (1791-1836). Pennsylvanian politician. A volunteer during the War of 1811, he was wounded in the unsuccessful defence of Washington, D.C. He served in the Pennsylvanian House of Representatives, and later the Senate, and was one of the most influential Senators just before the outbreak of the Pennsylvanian Revolution. He earned a reputation for dithering and doing nothing while his state was tearing itself down around him. Some suspected he wanted to preserve Pennsylvania within the Union, while others accused him of being a New England sympathiser who lacked even the courage to follow through with his convictions. He met his death at the hands of John Brown, the notorious Pennsylvanian revolutionary, who was seeking to intimidate Pennsylvanian politicians who were considering re-unification with the United States, after their revolution had been suppressed.

John Caldwell CALHOUN (1782-1853). Seventh President of the United States. Prominent as a War Hawk during the War of 1811, Calhoun was one of the politicians who scrambled for election in 1824. Due to a deal in the House of Representatives, he was elected President, with Monroe as Vice-President. His presidency was noted for his vigorous championing of “restoring America’s honour”, expansion of the armed forces, and for the difficulty he had dealing with the rising influence of the Jacksonians. Defeated in the 1828 elections, he joined the Patriot Party in 1830, and served as an influential elder statesman within that party for the remainder of his life. He continued to press for expansion of U.S. territory west and south, and lived long enough to see the United States win the First Mexican War.

Salmon Portland CHASE (1808-present). United States political figure. His family moved to Pennsylvania after the War of 1811, and he attended Harvard. He won a name for himself as a lawyer and abolitionist in Pennsylvania, but he opposed the revolution and joined the new state of Westylvania. He served in the Westylvanian Legislature, initially as a Patriot, but he recently joined the nativist Freedom Party, and although the Freedom Party vote was low in 1856, he is working actively to win Westylvania for the 1860 elections.

Cassius Marcellus CLAY (1810-1843). Kentuckian abolitionist and revolutionary. Clay tried and failed to bring about abolition or even restrictions on slavery through legal means, but found himself ignored before the War of 1833 and targeted afterwards. Frustrated by the encroachment of slavery, Clay conceived a plan to seize control of the Kentucky legislature, force them to pass a bill abolishing slavery within Kentucky, and he firmly believed that there would be uprisings in support of abolitionism. He succeeded in seizing control of Frankfort for a time, but his expected support failed to materialise. More than half of the Kentucky legislators died during the uprising, but the Clay rebellions became a symbol of horror throughout the United States.

Samuel COLT (1814-present) [4]. New England inventor and businessman. Founded a weapons company during the War of 1833, producing his famous Colt revolver, and which continues to supply a variety of weaponry to the New England government.

Sir James Henry CRAIG (1748-1812). British soldier and Governor of Canada. His arbitrary actions served to alienate the French-Canadians during his term as governor, and his other attempts at reform were hindered by the outbreak of the War of 1811. He died in 1812.

David CROCKETT: Born in East Tennessee in 1786, Crockett first rose to prominence during the War of 1811, when he served under General Wilkinson in the Indian Wars, including the Creek War. He served three terms in the Tennessee legislature before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1825, and re-elected in 1827, 1829, 1831 and 1833. A charismatic if uneducated speaker, Crockett was originally a supporter of President Calhoun, but later transferred his support to President Andrew Jackson. Crockett was one of the influential voices behind the 1833 declaration of war against Great Britain and New England. During the war, he helped to negotiate the peace treaty with Mexico, then he was an emissary to the failed negotiations in Stockholm. He died in 1843.


[1] In OTL, Audubon had the same doubts, but in March 1810 he was persuaded by the noted ornithological illustrator Alexander Wilson to continue with his drawings. ITTL, Wilson had other calls on his time, and Audubon abandoned his bird drawings.

[2] In OTL, Beaufort College served as a preparatory college, rather than a full university. Barnwell attended it first, but then went on to Harvard. With Harvard now in another country, a variety of educational institutions like Beaufort College were turned into attempted prestigious universities to match those of Harvard. During the early years, these universities were not particularly successful, as indicated by Barnwell’s (and others) scathing comments.

[3] One of the few characters who managed to get born so far post-POD within North America.


Decades of Darkness #53c: Filling the Annals

Charles DARWIN (1809)-present. British parson. Darwin graduated from Cambridge with a degree in divinity. Although he had a keen interest in natural history, Darwin’s proposals to travel overseas to study the natural world were abandoned after he was first unable to arrange a visit to Madeira, and then again when he was passed over for a voyage on the Beagle [1]. In 1855, Darwin is a country vicar with an interest in amateur natural history, as much as he can study while remaining supportive of his flock – he has published treatises on barnacles and earthworms, and has delivered some noteworthy works on geology.

Jefferson DAVIS (1808-present). American general and statesman. Davis attended Wilkinson Military Academy, Virginia [the U.S. replacement for West Point]. After graduating, he entered the army and stayed there throughout the War of 1833. He rose through the ranks during the war, mostly by virtue of being in the right place at the right time, and with an expanded need for experienced officers. By 1836, he was a Colonel serving under General Coffee defending the southern frontier, and took place in the Battle of New Orleans. After General Coffee died in action, Davis took it on himself to assume the brevet rank of brigadier general, and led the successful defence of New Orleans, although later historians are inclined to grant others with most of the credit for the victory. Davis remained in the army after the war, building a career as a general. In the First Mexican War, he was second-in-command to General Zachary Taylor for the successful invasion of Mexico, and after Taylor succumbed to disease (believed to have been malaria, but accounts vary), Davis found himself outside Mexico City with an army ready to invade. He lost no time in capitalising on the opportunity. In 1855, he was at the forefront of consideration for the Democratic presidential candidature.

Thomas DAVIS (1814-present). Irish nationalist. Davis has been influential in advocating a sense of “Ireland for the Irish”, and fostering a sense of nationalism. After witnessing the failure of two severe revolutions (in 1833 and 1849-50), and the bloody conflict within the peoples of Ireland, Davis has become even more committed to achieving a peaceful, united nation of Ireland. He visited Canada in 1851, and after noting how well that nation had succeeding in holding itself together despite the Protestant-Catholic split there, has become one of the leading voices calling for Kingdom status for Ireland.

Charles John Huffam DICKENS (1812-present). Australian author. Born in Portsmouth, England, he narrowly escaped gaol himself when his father was sent to debtor’s prison in 1824. The Dickens were able to gain release from prison in exchange for settlement in Australia (which was then New South Wales). Settling in Sydney, Dickens established a career as a reporter and then as a novelist. His novels depicting the injustice of the convict system have become hugely popular in both Australia and in the United Kingdom, Canada and New England.

Manuel DE GODOY (1767-1847). Spanish statesman. After being evicted from Spain in 1808, Godoy resided in Paris where he was, perhaps unfairly, accused of involvement in Napoleon II’s abortive coup attempt in 1843. He died in prison four years later.

Dorothea DIX (1802-present). New England nurse. Dix took up a career as a nurse during the War of 1833, and was one of the key figures involved in the advances in medical organisation which were developed during that war [things like a permanent medical military corps, some principles of hygiene, which would not be developed OTL until the American Civil War]. Since that time, she has become an influential campaigner for mental health in both New England and the USA.

Thomas Wilson DORR (1805-present): New England statesman. Dorr set up a Rhode Island legal practice in 1827, and joined the “Young Republicans” arm of the Republican Party of New England. Throughout his career, Dorr argued against the franchise limitations both within his own state and elsewhere in New England, against the natural-born constitutional restrictions, and the other immigration restrictions. His agitation grew to the point where he was expelled from the Republicans in 1845, and he was one of the founders of the Radical Party when this merged with the old Whig Party. Twice a presidential candidate for that party (in 1850 and 1854), Dorr’s most proud moment has been the 1853 abolition of Rhode Island’s property qualifications for voting.

Thomas DOUGLAS, Lord Selkirk (1771–1842). Canadian pioneer. Determined to bring Scottish people to North America, Lord Selkirk established a settlement at Red River, and became its unofficial governor. The North West Company brought lawsuits against him, citing false evidence, but the claims were quietly dismissed after the British governor decided that further settlement of the northwestern territories was more important, post-War of 1811, than a patently false lawsuit. The town of Selkirk [Winnipeg, Canada] is but one of many places named in his honour.

John Henry EATON (1790-1856). American statesmen. Established a legal practice in Tennessee, and then stood for membership of the House of Representatives in 1818. He was elected to the Senate in 1827. Forced to choose a political party in the aftermath of the break-up of the Republicans, Eaton opted to join the Democrats, but was always an uneasy member of that party. He served under Jackson as Secretary of War, mostly because of a shared hatred of the British, but he was disappointed with that party’s abandonment of the anti-British line after the war. He defected to the Patriots in 1841, resigning his seat in the Senate. He was appointed governor of Iowa Territory by President Mangum in that year, and reluctantly oversaw that territory’s adoption of a state constitution which permitted slavery. He served as Governor of Iowa, both as a territory then as a state, until he retired on medical grounds in 1854 and died two years later.

Edward EVERETT (1794-present). New England statesmen. One of the youngest presidents in New England history, Everett became president more or less by accident. Elected to the House of Representatives in 1831, Everett had been considering resignation to seek the governorship of Massachusetts in 1834 when he was offered the vice-presidential candidacy by Thomas Oakley. (It is reported that Oakley wanted someone who was unlikely to outshine him). Everett agreed, and served as vice-president from 1835-1839, and then as president from 1839-1843. He established a reputation as a masterful if long-winded orator (some of his speeches ran for over three hours). After his presidency, Everett has become one of the Federalists distinguished elder statesmen, and made several speaking tours of Europe.

Charles James FAULKNER (1806-present). Virginian lawyer and politician. Built up a legal practice for himself for a number of years before serving in his state legislature in 1831, then in the senate, and was elected governor of Virginia in 1851. He retains this rank in 1855.

Milliard FILLMORE (1800-present). A New Yorker of inspiring mediocrity, Fillmore joined the Republican Party and gradually worked his way into seniority, finally securing the Vice-Presidential nomination for the 1850 elections, under William Dayton. Catapulted into national prominence after he won election as Vice-President while under a Federalist president, Fillmore’s term in office has been distinguished by competence. But he was unable to secure the Republican nomination for the presidency in 1854, being kept as vice-president while Franklin Pierce sought and won the presidency.

James FITZGIBBON (1780-present). Irish-born Canadian soldier. Fitzgibbon distinguished himself in two North American wars. In the War of 1811, he led a force of volunteers, styled “Bellboys” after he had them use bells during a raid to make Americans think they were a herd of stray cattle. Fitzgibbon’s small-scale raids won several critical victories in the Niagara Peninsula. He remained in Canada after the war, and in the War of 1833 he was appointed Adjutant General of Militia and won a number of victories around the Great Lakes, particularly in the liberation of Detroit (supported by a New England force) and in the subsequent defence of Michigan.

Horace GREELEY (1811-present). New England newspaper baron. Born in New Hampshire, Greeley moved around New England in various printing trades before settling in Hartford in 1840 and opening a newspaper, the weekly Hartford Tribune, a pro-Whig, pro-social reform paper which became widely-read. The paper continues to support the Radical Party since the Whigs merged with that party.

John Parker HALE (1806-present). New Hampshire political leader. Starting his political career as a New Hampshire Federalist, Hale converted to the Republicans after the War of 1833, winning a Senate seat. His vocal anti-slavery voice made him less well-regarded amongst the Republicans, and he defected to the Radical Party in 1851. He still holds a New Hampshire Senate seat, but may be vulnerable to losing it at the next election.

Hannibal HAMLIN (1809-present). Maine and New England political leader. Hamlin has worked his way through the political offices in Maine as a Federalist, largely because winning office in Maine more or less requires Federalist credentials. As a Senator, he recently stood for vice-president on the Federalist ticket at the 1854 elections, but he is becoming increasingly uncomfortable as a member of that party.

William Henry HARRISON (1773-1843). American general and political figure. The Governor of Indiana Territory during the leadup to and outbreak of the War of 1811, forces under Harrison’s command suffered a number of defeats at the hands of British-armed Indians and, later, combined British-Indian forces. Discredited by his military failures during the War of 1811, Harrison retired into obscurity in civilian life.

Nathaniel HAWTHORNE (1804-present). New England journalist. Hawthorne has made a much-travelled life for himself as a journalist, writing articles for a variety of publications throughout New England. He has several times attempted to publish short stories and novels, but has been rejected by publishers, and his self-published attempt at a novel was a commercial failure.

Francis Bond HEAD (1793-present). British and Argentine entrepreneur. After a varied military career – including serving under Wellington’s defeated force at Waterloo in 1815 – Head migrated to Argentina to set up a mining company there. He has been quite successful for himself, and is still living there as one of the main figures in the British-descended community in Buenos Aires.

Joseph HOLT (1807-present). American lawyer and public official. Born in Kentucky, he commenced a legal practice in that state, and became widely known as both a public speaker and lawyer. He practiced law in both Kentucky and Tennessee, and set up an office in Knoxville (as it then was) when it became the federal capital in 1841. In 1847, he was assisting prosecutor during the trial of Marcellus Reid, the assassin of President Mangum. Although a Democrat, he continued to gain influence in Columbia City during the Cass years.

HONG Xiuquan (1812-present). Chinese social reformer and revolutionary leader. Hong Xiuquan has inspired and led a revolution in southern China, nicknamed the “Taiping” revolution, which began in 1852 and is currently expanding its control rapidly. Hong is currently seeking Western support and the capture of a port city, two things he will need to ensure that his rebellion has any hope of success. The British have no interest in working against the established government of China, but he has recently met with emissaries from (or purporting to be from) the Netherlands and France.

Sam HOUSTON (1793-present). Texan military leader and statesman. Enrolled in the army after the outbreak of the War of 1811. Badly wounded four times during the war. Remained in the army afterwards, until his resignation in 1819. Studied law in Tennessee, admitted to the bar. Unsuccessfully stood for election to U.S. Congress in 1823. After the break-up of his marriage shortly thereafter, Houston migrated to Texas. He soon rose to prominence in Texan affairs, being nominated for several military commands, and attending the Conventions of 1830 and 1831. He was one of the signatories to the Texan Declaration of Independence on 12 January 1833, and shortly after was elected general. He attended the peace negotiations in 1834. He became the first governor of Texas-Coahuila after General Porter declined the nomination. Houston initially argued against the partition of Texas into multiple territories, but then conceded its inevitability and became the first governor of the state of East Texas. He became the Vice-President under Lewis Cass in 1848, and retains that office in 1855.

Victor HUGO (1802-present). French poet, novelist and dramatist. Hugo has written a number of notable novels and dramas. An ardent republican, he fled France after the fall of the Second Republic in 1853 and is currently in self-imposed exile in the United States. His view of republicanism is being tempered by what he has found there.


[1] In OTL, Darwin was the second choice for travelling companion for Captain Fitzroy on the Beagle. ITTL, the first choice candidate was accepted.


Decades of Darkness #53d: A Character-Building Exercise

Andrew JACKSON (1767-1844). American general and political leader. Jackson distinguished himself in the War of 1811 through his staunch but ultimately futile defence of New Jersey, as the state was ceded by the Treaty of Lisbon. As military governor of what was then East Florida Territory during the early 1820s, Jackson distinguished himself with his defeat of the Seminoles. He won the largest number of electoral votes in the 1824 elections, but Calhoun became President when the election was sent to the House of Representatives. Jackson formed the Democratic Party in response, and was catapulted to the presidency in 1828. He spent his first term marshalling military strength and cultivating friendship with France, and then declared war on the Indian Confederation, New England and Britain soon after his re-election. Despite the ambiguous outcome of the war, Jackson sought and won a third term in office, and remained President until 1840. He retired from public life, worn out by the responsibilities of office, and died in 1844.

Andrew JOHNSON (1808-present). A very good tailor, Johnson tried to enter politics a couple of times earlier in his life, but was quietly blocked by the planters in Tennessee, and settled into the working-class life he has continued to the present day.

Francis (Frank) White JOHNSON (1799-1833). Martyr of the Texan Revolution. Johnson migrated to Texas in 1825. He was an outspoken delegate in favour of independence at the constitutional conventions, and led the first force to take up arms against Mexico. He was one of the casualties of the first engagement with Santa Anna in 1833.

Don Benito JUAREZ (1806-present). Governor of the Mexican state of Oaxaca since 1846, Juarez became an outspoken liberal reformer, and was one of the key figures in the revolution that overthrew Santa Anna after the humiliation of the First Mexican War. Elected President in 1853, he has instituted a program to break the civil power of the Church, including confiscation of ecclesiastical property.

John ";Radical Jack"; George LAMBTON, Earl of Durham (1792-1840). British politician. Lord Durham campaigned vigorously for parlimentary reform, and just lived to see its introduction in 1840 before his death.

Robert E. LEE (1807-present). Appointed to Wilkinson Military Academy in 1825, Lee was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant after his graduation. Lee was a First Lieutenant at the outbreak of the War of 1833, and rose through the ranks to that of Colonel before the war’s end. He operated in the northwestern theatre, and earned a reputation for brilliant manoeuvres, but also for over-running his lines of supply on a regular basis. In the First Mexican War, Lee was named General and responsible for the occupation of New Mexico. He remains in the army in 1855 as one of its most experienced commanders.

Abraham LINCOLN (1809-present). Born in Kentucky, Lincoln’s family migrated to Missouri, then to Ohio, then to New England in 1830. Lincoln entered state politics in New York, eventually rising to State Senator as a Republican, but unable to run for federal office under the New England Constitution. He defected to the Radicals in 1854, and with the passing of the Fourth Amendment, he was eligible for federal office. He was appointed to the New England Senate in 1855.

Henry Wadsworth LONGFELLOW (1807-present). New England lawyer, orator and political leader. Longfellow entered legal practice in 1828, and soon became noted for his effective arguments. He also had a habit of writing letters to friends which were masterful displays of the written word, particularly in his support of abolition. Encouraged by his friend Hannibal Hamlin, Longfellow sought and won election to Congress in 1853.

William Lyon MACKENZIE (1795-present). Canadian reformer. Condemned by many for his part in the 1837 rebellions, MacKenzie spent several years in exile before being pardoned and invited back as part of the British plans to reform Canada. He was an opponent of Kingdom status, but has since relented given the stable rule Canada has enjoyed under James I.

Willie Person MANGUM (1792-1847). American president. One of the more notable members of the Patriot Party, Mangum won election to the presidency in 1840. He was re-elected in 1844, then assassinated in 1847.

Horace MANN (1796-present). New England politician and mental health advocate. Mann established a political career for himself as a Federalist in Massachusetts. His well-planned life took a dramatic turn when he sponsored a hospital for the mentally ill in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1838. The opening was also attended by Dorothea Dix, the nurse who had just completed a distinguished service as a medical organiser to the Continental Army. They reportedly fell in love instantly, and were married six months later. Since then, Mann has continued his public career, with a focus on support his wife’s interest in mental health.

MOHAMMED Ali Pasha (1769-1850). Egyptian leader. Mohammed introduced considerable reforms to Egypt, including a system of conscription which allowed him a much expanded army, and turned Egypt into a power which stretched into Arabia. After being invited to assist the Turks suppress the Greek revolt, Mohammed saw his fleet destroyed by the Greeks, and then the Sultan renege on his promised offer of Syria. Mohammed’s armies engaged in a protracted war with the Turks over Palestine and Syria. The Turks’ position, already precarious, was decimated when the Russians declared war in 1834. Mohammed seized control of Palestine and Syria during this period. His virtual empire was soon consumed by revolts, however, which were supported by Britain and France, who had grown wary of Mohammed’s considerable power. In 1842, the European powers intervened openly, forcing a settlement between the Turks and Egypt, which confined Mohammed’s power to Egypt and Sinai. He died eight years later.


Decades of Darkness #53e: Ibid.

Ramon Maria NARVAEZ (1800-present). Spanish general and statesmen. Narvaez distinguished himself by his victories over the Carlist generals during the First Carlist Wars. He held the premiership from 1840-1852 (with brief interruptions), but has now had to return to the battlefield as Spain is engulfed by the Second Carlist Wars.

Joshua Abraham NORTON (1811-present). American entrepreneur. Born in Britain, and migrated to South Africa with his family, then to the United States in 1848. He entered North California soon after it was conquered, and established Empire Investments in 1852. He has since invested heavily in North California and other parts of former Mexico, to the point where some of his contemporaries have dubbed him “Protector of Mexico”.

Daniel O'CONNELL (1776-1815). Irish barrister. Established a legal practice, but was killed in a duel with John D'Esterre when O’Connell refused to pay to cross a bridge which D’Esterre was collecting tolls for.

Robert OWEN (1771-1854). Welsh social reformer. Owen became noted for his establishment of a socially conscious factory at New Lanark, and his proposals for social reform and the cure of poverty were well-received in many circles. However, his vocal dislike of established religion discredited his proposals, and popular support for his social reform almost vanished overnight. Owen attempted to set up a social reform commune in Kentucky, but this was also a dismal failure. He established his “socialist” system in 1834, and advocated it his writings for the remainder of his life, but he achieved very little, although his activities are usually cited as a source of inspiration for Karl Marx, whom Owen met in London shortly before his death. Owen died in 1854.

Robert Dale OWEN (1801-1843). American abolitionist. Owen settled in Kentucky in the United States in 1824, when along with his father he attempted to set up an equitable social reform commune there. He remained in Kentucky, advocating his father’s principles, and extending them to call for the abolition of slavery in the state. Owen was a member of the Kentucky Legislature during the Clay revolt, and defied them by uttering his famous words, “Like you, I would rid this world of slavery. But unlike you, I would achieve it through the rule of law, for without law, we shall all become slaves to anarchy.” Some sources claim that Owen was shot by Cassius Clay himself after hearing these words, but others state that it was a member of the rebellious militia.

Louis-Joseph PAPINEAU (1786-present). French-Canadian political leader. An ardent republican, Papineau was one of the leading French-Canadians in the 1836 rebellions. Exiled after the war, Papineau spent the next few years living in the United States and then in France, advocating republicanism as the best form of government. He was permitted to return to Canada during the discussions which led to the formation of the Kingdom. He opposed Kingdom status on its formation, and migrated to New Brunswick, where he has become a leader campaigner for New Brunswick joining New England in preference to Canada or remaining under British rule.

Sir Robert PEEL (1788-1853). British political leader. A lifelong opponent of Catholic Emancipation, Peel became Prime Minister in 1829 and continued to staunchly oppose this proposal, with the support of the king, until the Irish revolt of 1833 coincided with the U.S. declaration of war. Peel struggled to hold the office of Prime Minister, and was ousted in 1835. He continued to oppose Emancipation, but it was passed after the war. Peel never regained office, dying of tuberculosis in 1853.

Louis PHILIPPE (1773-1851). Orleanist King of France. Swept to power by the December Revolution in 1834, King Louis Philippe sought to act as a modest king, working for the interests of his subjects. However, he became more conservative as he grew older, and became the source of much public discontent. He was further plagued in that his only son, Ferdinand-Philippe, died in 1828 of a carriage accident without any children, and Louis was unable to produce any subsequent male heirs. He fled Paris in 1849 in the face of revolution, taking up residence in the United States, and died there in 1851. The Orleanist royal line ended with him.

Franklin PIERCE (1804-president). 12th President of New England. Elected in 1854 and inaugurated in 1855 as a Republican president.

Gideon Johnson PILLOW (1806-present). American legislator. After establishing a legal practice in Tennessee, Pillow entered the Tennessee Legislature in 1843, and then became a federal Senator in 1850. A Patriot with substantial Democratic leanings, Pillow was in 1855 seeking the Vice-Presidential nomination in time for the 1856 elections.

Edgar Allan POE (1809-1851). Orphaned early in his life, Poe was fostered by a series of merchant families. Poe graduated from West Point in 1829 and was admitted to the Continental Army. By 1833, he had attained the rank of captain and was stationed in a fort near the New-York Pennsylvania border. Poe was repeatedly been reprimanded by his superiors for writing poetry and other fiction when he should be commanding his men. During his military service in the War of 1833, Poe composed the haunting poem “The Ravens”, describing the horrors of war. He left the army after the war and published a series of novels, as well as acting as an editor. He was found comatose in the streets of Boston in 1851, and was delirious for the next two days before dying. His precise cause of death is unknown to this day, but is suspected to have been some kind of brain disease.

James Knox POLK (1795-1854). American political leader. A lawyer in his youth, Polk entered politics and eventually became the Vice-President during Jackson’s third term in office (1837-1841). Polk sought the presidency himself during the 1840 elections, but he was defeated by fellow North Carolinian Willie P. Mangum. He continued to argue for westward expansion during his later career in the U.S. Senate, and eventually switched to the Patriot Party after Lewis Cass became President and also advocated western expansion.

Antonio Lopez de SANTA ANNA (1794-present). One of the main figures in the Mexican War of Independence, and renowned as a national hero for helping to repel the French from Mexico City during the European invasions, Santa Anna attempted to defeat the Texan rebels during 1833-1834, but was soundly defeated and forced to swallow a peace treaty conceding Texas and part of Coahuila. Santa Anna led the Revolution of 1834 and became President in the next year, after the death of Emperor De Iturbide. Santa Anna held the office of President, very tightly, from 1835-1852, but most of his tenure in office consisted of leaving his vice-presidents to run the country, then dismissing them when they became unpopular. His attempts to impose centralisation during the late 1840s were cut short by the outbreak of the First Mexican War. Santa Anna was overthrown after the conclusion of the war, and went into exile first in Cuba, and then in New England.

Henry Rowe SCHOOLCRAFT: (1793-1821). Explorer, ethnologist and victim, Schoolcraft took part in an ill-fated expedition to find the source of the Mississippi. He died at the hands of hostile Indians somewhere along the northwestern borders of the Indian Confederation, according to the panicked accounts of survivors of the expedition.

William SEWARD (1801-present). New England statesman. Seward has been a moderate Republican throughout most of his life. Although he has espoused anti-slavery sentiments – like most of the Republicans – he moderated these after the War of 1833, seeking to end the practice of slavery in the United States by “peaceful dialogue and exertions of conscience”. His moderate statements served to distance him from some of the more radical elements of the party, and he was a firm opponent of the defections to the newly-forming Radical Party. Seward remains an influential figure in the Republican Party in 1855, and is being touted as a future presidential candidate.

Horatio SEYMOUR (1810-present). New England political figure. The nephew of his namesake, the 6th President of New England, the younger Seymour has become the leading Federalist in New York State. Although leading a minority within the state, Seymour has recently sought to partition New York State into eastern and western portions, believing that an eastern state would be likely to follow him into the Federalist fold.

Joseph STORY (1779-1845). New England jurist. Appointed to the founding Supreme Court of New England by President Pickering in 1811, Story established a strong role for the Supreme Court in New England which paralleled that which John Marshall was establishing in the United States. Although several Federalist presidents believed that the gradual encroaching of the Supreme Court’s authority, Story continued to develop and extend the law in areas such as equity and the admiralty laws. He was made Chief Justice in 1830 by President Sanford, a role which Story maintained until his death in 1845.

Charles SUMNER (1811-present). New England statesman. One of the youngest men ever elected to the Massachusetts Legislature, Sumner served three terms as a Representative, and then sought and won office as a federal Representative. Originally a Republican, Sumner abandoned that party for the Radicals in 1850 and is one of the few Radical Representatives from Massachusetts. He remains a member of the New England House of Representatives in 1855, unable to secure a Senate appointment in Federalist-dominated Massachusetts.


Decades of Darkness #53f: Mere Details

Roger Brook TANEY (1777-1835). Maryland lawyer and politician. Although beginning his political career as a Federalist, Roger Taney was quick to abandon that party during the War of 1811. He served Maryland as a State Representative, then as one of the leading members of the State Senate, then he was appointed the state’s Attorney General in 1829. Failing of election to the U.S. Senate in 1832, Taney continued to play a leading role in Maryland politics. He had the misfortune to be caught in the British-Yankee raid on Baltimore in 1835, and is remembered to this day as a martyr of the war. His epitaph reads:

“Here lies Roger Brook Taney, friend of liberty during both peace and war, supporter of those in need. He died at the hands of the enemies of freedom. Let all those who pass read these words him and know who betrayed him. Lest we forget.”

Zachary TAYLOR (1784-1851). American general. A career soldier, Zachary Taylor saw service in all of the United States’ wars for the first half of the nineteenth century. He served in the War of 1811, both Seminole Wars and the War of 1833, finally achieving general’s stars in 1836. General Taylor led the American forces who supported Juan Pablo Duarte in his restoration of independence to the Dominican Republic in 1840. As one of the United States’ most senior generals, Taylor led the invasion of Mexico during the First Mexican War, but died of malaria before laying eyes on Mexico City.

Alfred TENNYSON (1809-present) is currently a British poet of middling fame, as of 1855, and some expect him to deliver more famous work soon.

Louis Adolphe THIERS (1797-present) is a popular French historian, noted for his dramatic portrayals of the ideals of the First Republic. Thiers found it politic to leave France when Napoleon III re-established the Second Empire, and is currently in self-imposed exile in southern Italy.

William Barret TRAVIS (1809-present). Born in South Carolina, Travis had a brief career as an attorney before his marriage in 1828. When his wife died in childbirth the following year, Travis left South Carolina and moved to Arkansaw Territory. Disappointed with the prospects there, he moved onto Texas in 1830. He arrived to find Texas a hotbed of unrest, with the growing calls for independence from Mexico, and volunteered to join in the militia there. With the declaration of independence in 1833, Travis assumed command of a detachment of militia, and distinguished himself during the Texan Revolution. As head of the First Texas Volunteer Cavalry, he played a vital part in winning the Battle of New Orleans in 1836. Travis entered the regular army after the war, and was a Colonel during the U.S. acquisition of North California, which led to the outbreak of the First Mexican War. Travis was then named Governor of North California Territory.

John TYLER (1790-present). Virginian and American statesman. A prominent lawyer in his youth, Tyler followed his father’s footsteps into the governorship of Virginia in 1825. An early advocate of the rightness of Matthism, particularly in its applications to matters of race, Tyler has campaigned vigorously and extensively for the extension of slavery to all areas of the United States where it would be economically viable. In 1855, Tyler is a distinguished United States Senator, and a firm advocate of the need to establish a “regulated system of classification of the races” in the newly-acquired former Mexican territories.

Martin VAN BUREN: After the chaos of the War of 1811, Van Buren rose to prominence in New York. He was a moderate Federalist at first, but abandoned that party for the Republicans after the Federalists continued to oppose the elimination of property qualifications for voting. He was elected as a New York Senator in 1823, and became one of the leading Republicans in that state. He was a staunch supporter of President Sanford during the latter’s election, but had a rift after he was passed over as Secretary of State in favour of John Quincy Adams. He was appointed to fill a vacancy in the New England Senate in 1832, and after distinguished service as a Senator successfully won election as the 10th President of New England, and only the second Republican. Van Buren has remained with the Republican Party since, and continues to advocate good relations with the United States.

Cornelius VANDERBILT: Prominent New York capitalist, his steamboat empire expanded dramatically with the construction of canals was given federal approval by President Dana in 1823. His growing commercial empire includes strong trading links with the Canadas and the United States. Vanderbilt has been an opponent of the establishment of tariffs in New England, and has lent his considerable financial support to the most pro-United States wing of the Republican Party. His business dealings suffered a brief setback during the War of 1833, but Vanderbilt has continued to expand his shipping and canal-building empire. Most of New England’s commerce passes through Vanderbilt-owned ships, and by 1855 he has started to expand his railroad interests, including the first discussions of a transcontinental railroad to unite New England and Canada.

Daniel WEBSTER (1782-1850). New England statesman. As a young man and moderate Federalist, Webster is reported to have originally opposed secession, but to have changed his views after the assassination of Rufus King. He established a strong legal practice in New Hampshire, and then represented that state first as a Representative and then, from 1827, as a Senator. Along with most of the Federalists, he advocated high tariffs to support the burgeoning manufacturing sector of New England, despite the commercial friction this caused with Britain. He was selected as Vice-President on Edward Everett’s Federalist ticket in 1838 to win the “swing state” of New Hampshire, and followed into the Presidency in the 1842 elections. As President, Webster’s most noteworthy act was to purchase Nova Scotia from the United Kingdom. He is also remembered as a great orator, with quotes such as “I was born an American; I have lived as a New Englander; I will die as a Yankee”.

Levi WOODBURY (1789-1852). New England statesman and jurist. Woodbury had a political career in his youth, becoming a New England Senator, before abandoning his political career to accept an appointment to the New England Supreme Court in 1831, and he became the Chief Justice in 1845 after the death of Joseph Story. Woodbury served as Chief Justice until his death in 1852.

Frances WRIGHT (1795-1850). Frances Wright was Scottish-born but had a lifelong interest in North America. She visited North America in her youth. Her famous travelogue “Views of Society and Manners in North America” hailed New England as a progressive nation but condemned the United States as more backward than the Old World. Wright was particularly appalled by slavery and made vigorous efforts to finding a way to stop the practice. Wright settled in New England and became an advocate of further social reform within New England, particularly women’s rights. Although her demands in areas such as equal education, legal rights for married women, liberal divorce laws, and birth control were not realised in her lifetime, Wright is a viewed as a pioneer by later New England women.

Archibald YELL (1797-present). American opportunist. Born in North Carolina, but an early migrant to Tennessee, Yell earned a deserved reputation as an eccentric showman with an eye for the main chance. He moved seamlessly between military and political careers. He served a distinguished career in the Tennessee Legislature, interrupted only by occasional bouts of military service. Yell took part in the War of 1811, the Second Seminole War, the War of 1833, and the First Mexican War. He led the volunteer contingents in the march on Mexico City, then migrated to North California, where he currently resides.

David Levy YULEE (1810-present). American statesman. Born in St Thomas in what would become the U.S. Virgin Islands (part of the Caribbean Territory), Yulee studied in Virginia, and maintained close links with the United States. A staunch supporter of slavery, Yulee established a plantation in what was then Jackson Territory, and was accepted as the first Jewish Senator. Yulee has maintained his Jewish faith [1], and has published arguments advocating the compatibility of Judaism with slavery.


The following historical characters were not born ITTL:

John Wilkes BOOTH



Count Charles Ferdinand Latrille DE LORENCEZ (some people were born post-POD in 1814, but he didn't quite make it)

Stephen Arnold DOUGLAS


Harriet Beecher STOWE (there was a Harold Stowe born instead)

Fernando WOOD

There were also a few characters who weren’t doing anything notable next, and are thus reserved for the next Where Are They Now:

JAJA of Opobo

LI Hung-Chang




[1] Mostly because they have many other people to hate, Americans ITTL are notably less anti-Semitic than they were in OTL during the nineteenth century. Being a Jew can still be a barrier to social advancement in some ways, but much less so than in OTL.


Decades of Darkness #54: The Charge of the Right Brigade

12 July 1858

Buckingham Palace,

London, England

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland

His Majesty Edward VII, King of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, felt that ceremony had long taken up too much of his life. The endless series of protocols and rituals of office filled up far too much of his time, and he often found the formality clingingly stuffy. So he was glad to dispense with it on the few occasions when he had the opportunity to. Such as the first time he had met his youngest brother, Charles, in over a year, who had just returned from Ireland and, before that, Canada. “So, how did you find Ireland?”

Prince Charles looked distinctly sombre as he spoke. “The island is ready to revolt – again.”

Edward frowned. The more experience he had had with Ireland during his lifetime, the more he wished he could be rid of the whole mess. Two major revolts during his reign, and countless minor problems. He could never abandon the island, of course – it was an integral part of the Empire – but he had been sorely tempted. “Another Irish revolt, while we face war with Russia?”

“Alas, yes,” Charles said. “If not on their own, they will likely treat any distraction with Russia as an ideal time to rebel.”

Edward considered that. Relations with Russia were fast deteriorating. The Tsar was leaning very heavily on the Turks, demanding unfettered access through Constantinople, freedom to act in the Holy Land, and further territorial concessions to “protect” the Orthodox subjects throughout the Ottoman Empire, even in Asia, which had a distinct lack of such people. The Turks could do very little about those demands, but could Britain afford to prop them up alone?

The Foreign Secretary, Lord Palmerston, had been trying valiantly to obtain cooperation against the Russians, without success. When he wasn’t screaming over the loss of Alsace, the French Emperor was more interested in colonial possessions, perhaps even a partition of the Ottoman Empire, than fighting his recent ally. Maybe the French Emperor would be of assistance if war broke out, but he was doing nothing to stop war from beginning. The Swedes and Danes wanted no part of war in the Baltic, the Greeks were more likely to join the Russians than ally with the Turks, and the Holy Roman Emperor had loudly proclaimed the German Confederation’s neutrality in this diplomatic conflict. There was no help there - and encouraging the Austrians to take an interest in the Balkans might be detrimental in the long term too. New England was too far away to do anything of consequence in Europe, although they might be of assistance in the Pacific if war came, which seemed increasingly likely each day.

“We could stop such a revolt, I assume,” Edward said.

“Of course. As we have before. And as we will have to keep doing again and again. It would be an eternal nuisance. Unless...”

Edward said, “Unless we grant them Kingdom status, you mean [1].”

Charles nodded. “If we grant the Irish that, they will work with us, not against us.”

Edward sighed. This proposal had come up before, and he had resisted it each time, for what he continued to believe were good reasons. Ireland was an integral part of the United Kingdom, not a separate country. Granting such status to the distant colonies was one thing, because there it encouraged unity amongst disparate peoples. For the same reason, he expected that the colonies in Australia and South Africa would eventually be granted Kingdom status. But slicing off part of the United Kingdom to Ireland merely encouraged disunity. While he trusted Charles with the throne, he did not want to risk that a successor might adopt a more separatist stance, particularly given the disaffection of some of the Irish people. “I have my doubts.”

Charles said, “What will you say during the next Irish revolt, and then the one after that? Ireland will never rest easily, ruled as it is. Remember what happened to us when we ignored the demands for Catholic emancipation three decades ago? The situation is the same here, if not worse.”

Edward said, “Perhaps.” That was the most he wanted to say, for now. He would have to give the Irish Question further thought before he answered. And it would be harder if he had to answer the Eastern Question at the time, as he suspected it would be. He expected a Russian declaration of war against the Turks to come within weeks, perhaps within days.

Charles said, “Actually, things could become much worse. What about the Americans? Their citizens are already enmeshed in Cuba. Davis is an unknown quantity, but most of his predecessors have been friendly with the tsars.”

“Tyranny calls to tyranny,” Edward muttered. But his brother raised a worrying point. The United States had become a stark warning of the danger of unchecked democracy. Their Expulsion Act had been bad enough, but the latest reports from across the Atlantic suggested that they were considering ways of bonding some of the people within the former Mexican lands they had acquired. What would happen if the Americans made an alliance with Russia, the other major serf-holding nation? “But I suppose it would do no harm to ask Parliament to consider the question.”

Charles smiled. “I will approach them.”


Extracts from “The Russian War: Awakening the Northern Bear

(c) 1949 by Martin van Buren VI

Boston University Press

Boston: New England


“I believe that if this barbarous nation (Russia), the enemy of all progress, should once succeed in establishing itself in the heart of Europe, it would be the greatest calamity which could befall the human race since the birth of the United States.”

- Lord Lyndhurst in a speech to the House of Lords

History, it has often been said, runs in cycles. Certainly, a review of the history of the nineteenth century since the fall of Napoleon would seem to support that proposition: a cycle of war and peace, with alternating decades largely peaceful then violent, followed the downfall of the tyrant. The 1810s were violent, the 1820s largely peaceful, the 1830s wracked with war, the 1840s mostly quiet until the twilight of the decade, and in the 1850s war erupted over the world once more. In North America, the United States began the First Mexican War, then acquired Cuba and Nicaragua. India saw the Mutiny. In Europe, the start of the decade saw the continuation of the 1849 revolts, then the Confederation War, then the Second Carlist Wars in Spain, and then the great, continents-spanning clash of the Russian War (called the Turkish War in Europe).

This war began, in essence, due to the death spasms of the Ottoman Empire, although it was also an outgrowth of the broader Anglo-Russian rivalry which was to remain prominent throughout the rest of the nineteenth century. The Ottoman Empire had been slowly dying for decades, of course, but Tsar Nicholas II was determined to deliver the definitief messer [2]. He had a number of demands, and their cumulative effect was to remove large parts of Ottoman territory and reduce the rest to a vassal state. The Ottomans refused to concede these demands, with British support, and the result was a war which broke out in the summer of 1858, and which was to drag on into the next decade and involve military action on four continents [3].

In North America, the result was to involve New England in her first war in over thirty years, and the abolition of Russian control over Alaska...


From “The New Oxford Historical Dictionary”

(c) 1949 New Oxford University,

Liverpool [Melbourne], Kingdom of Australia

Used with permission.

NAKHIMOV, Pavel Stepanovich, Admiral Nakhimov (1802-1874). One of Russia’s most famous naval heroes. Nakhimov distinguished himself during the Russian War, inflicting a savage defeat on the Turkish Navy at Sinope, then defeating the Royal Navy in an engagement off Zonguldak. Although he was ultimately defeated when a larger battlefleet was sent from Britain, Nakhimov’s heroics earned him enduring fame within Russia.


Extracts from letters sent by Sergeant Jonathan Pierce, 1st New South Wales Mounted Infantry Regiment, to his wife Alice, while his regiment was serving in the quelling of the Indian Mutiny.

23 February 1859

This whole country is devilishly hot. I asked one of the local sepoys, one of the ones we still trust, and he told me that this is the cool time of the year! He also said that they have two seasons. The “dry” season, where it rains every day, and the monsoon, when it rains all day. You never can tell with these chaps.

27 May 1859

What we do in this country, so I swear before God, should never be done anywhere else on the face of the world. My pen can’t shape the letters, or my mind the words, to describe what we found in Delhi. Mutiny is one thing. I’d never say it to my men, but I’d be disappointed if they didn’t feel like disagreeing with me now and then. But what these disloyal sepoys have done to the white people they found won’t be repeated. When at last I come home and look into your eyes again, I beg of you not to ask me to describe this scene in Delhi, lest you see it reflected in my eyes or in my words, and thus see a vision of things which God has properly reserved only to take place in the fires of eternal damnation. And what we will do, what we have to do, to stop this happening again, is worse treatment than we ever handed out the blacks back home. I always thought that the blacks were little better than animals, but calling these mutineers animals is an insult to honest cattle and dogs everywhere. Even the American jackals wouldn’t do something as bad as this. If this mutiny is truly inspired by the Russians, as some of our officers insist, then King Edward shouldn’t stop his war with them until we’ve marched to St Petersburg and burned the whole city to the ground, so that no-one ever gets an idea like this again.


[1] Viz, the same “kingdom within Empire” status which was granted to Canada.

[2] A Neudeutsch phrase which has slipped into English, meaning roughly “the final knife”.

[3] Europe, Asia, Africa and North America.


Decades of Darkness #55: New England, Old Problems

Popular and Electoral Votes for President in 1854

From “1810-1910: A Century of New England Political History”

(c) 1912 by William H. Baldwin

Sandler Publishing Company, Long Island

The 1854 presidential elections demonstrated that the two-party system was, perhaps irrevocably, breaking apart. In particular, the reign of the Federalist Party was coming to an end. The Federalists had dominated New England’s politics for the first four decades of its history – with only one brief intermission under the Sanford presidency – but their dominance was clearly weakening by the 1840s. It has been argued (Clay, 1908; Leinonen, 1910) that the Federalists would have lost their influence much sooner if not for the War of 1833. According to this view, the War of 1833 discredited the Republican Party for the next decade. Others have argued (Van Buren, 1906) that it was only Sanford’s personal charisma which won his office, and emphasise the continuity of government throughout the first four decades.

In any event, by the late 1840s, the Radicals had emerged as a clear third party in the New England political structure. They were not just an outgrowth of the Republicans, but a new force in politics which also won the support of former Federalist voters. Indeed, the rise of the Radicals, and subsequent disputes with the Republicans, concealed for a time how far the Federalist star had waned. In 1838, Everett had won almost two-thirds of the presidential votes, and the Federalists had won commanding majorities in both Houses of Congress. Twelve years later, Winthrop struggled into the presidency with only 42% of the presidential vote.

In 1856, the situation was to prove even worse. The Federalist Party declined both in absolute votes but also, more importantly, geographically. The Federalists had historically dominated six states – Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont and New Hampshire – and held a strong presence in New York. However, by 1852, the Federalist vote had crumbled in New York, and they were in retreat in New Hampshire, Vermont, and Rhode Island. The Federalists looked in danger of becoming a regional party confined to Massachusetts and Maine...

In this backdrop, the three parties chose their candidates. The Federalists opted for John Staniford Robinson, the prominent Vermont Senator, in a bid to secure that wavering state, and Hannibal Hamlin of Maine for their vice-presidential candidate. The Republican convention opted for the unspectacular but reliable Franklin Pierce from New Hampshire, narrowly ahead of Milliard Fillmore, who again became their vice-presidential candidate. The Radicals opted for Thomas Wilson Dorr, who had recently won such a spectacular success in achieving constitutional change in Rhode Island, and selected the fervently anti-slavery and anti-American Thaddeus Stevens of Vermont for their vice-presidential candidate.

Popular Votes Electoral Votes

State Rob. Pie. Dorr Rob. Pie. Dorr

Connecticut 20,765 16,151 9,229 10 0 0

Maine 43,133 18,103 8,332 13 0 0

Massachusetts 74,745 30,139 15,672 22 0 0

Long Island 40,494 59,991 49,492 0 15 0

New Hampshire 12,646 14,368 11,894 0 8 0

New Jersey 19,998 35,648 31,301 0 12 0

New York 129,915 181,881 121,254 0 50 0

Rhode Island 12,631 3,286 15,099 0 0 5

Vermont 14,196 14,095 9,804 8 0 0

Total 368,524 373,662 272,078 53 85 5

After the electoral results were announced, three things became clear. Pierce was destined for electoral office, the Radicals were a growing political force to be reckoned with, and the Federalists would need to find a counterweight to the political strength of New York if they were ever to attain office again. Their answer to that dilemma saw them form a most unexpected temporary alliance with the Radicals...


Selected Important Dates in North American History: 1850-1855

From “1810-1910: A Century of New England History”

(c) 1946, Prof. Meredith E. Sun-Walker

Vanderbilt Press

New York: New England


First national convention of the Radical Party, a merger of the old Whig Party with the more extreme Republicans. The convention chooses Thomas Wilson Dorr and Charles Francis Adams to represent the party on the first national ticket. At first, the Radicals are seen as a fringe party, but several mainstream Republicans are heard to offer similar views.


Robert Charles Winthrop (Massachusetts), Federalist, inaugurated as the 11th President of New England, after a controversial election where the election was sent to the House of Representatives. Winthrop’s presidency would be further complicated because he had acquired a Republican Vice-President, Milliard Fillmore (New York), who had been on the Republican ticket and was elected through the electoral college despite Dayton’s failure to secure the presidency.


A long-sought referendum is held in Rhode Island, and that state’s prohibitive property qualifications for voting (requiring land ownership) are abolished. This referendum, the result of more than a decade’s agitation by Thomas Dorr and his followers, means that only four states (Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut and Vermont) still have some form of property qualification for office.


Rhode Island and Connecticut legislatures ratify the proposed constitutional amendment to end the native-born restrictions on the presidency and other federal offices. The Fourth Amendment will take effect from 1 January 1854.


Prominent New York State Senator Abraham Lincoln defects to the Radical Party, the most prominent in a string of departures from the Republicans. The Republicans’ political position has, however, been partially compensated by a steady drift of Federalists to the Republican ranks, particularly in New Hampshire, Vermont and Connecticut.

First transatlantic telegraph cable laid, connected New England to the United Kingdom. It is only in service for three months.


Franklin Pierce (New Hampshire), Republican, inaugurated as the 12th President of New England. Milliard Fillmore (New York), Republican, is returned as Vice-President.


4 December 1855

Hartford, Connecticut

Republic of New England

Abraham Lincoln had, as a rule, found little time for dealing with the Federalists since his appointment to the New England Senate. They seemed, to him, to represent most of what was wrong with New England. They were alien to a true spirit of democracy, with their continued opposition to extension of the franchise, and their continual grovelling to the King of England. He understood the need for friendship with England, but that did not mean that they needed to crawl. They should realise that the English needed New England’s support just as much as New England needed friends in London.

Now, however, the Federalists were turning to the Radicals for support. This was his second meeting with Senator Hamlin, and Lincoln had begun to think the Federalists were genuine in their pursuit of a common cause. He had also begun to think that Hamlin was misplaced in the Federalists, and should be persuaded to join the Radical cause, but that was a matter for another day.

Lincoln said, “Forgive me if I sound reluctant, sir, but I do not understand why you and your Federalist colleagues have decided to support the admission of both Michigan and Nova Scotia, after so long in opposition to it.” More than that, he wondered what trick lay beneath this offer.

Hamlin said, “I thought that you would welcome our support, given your long advocacy for their statehood.”

Lincoln nodded. “They are our citizens. They should be granted representation, or we will be little better than the United States, who have taken much of Mexico but refuse to grant the people there any responsible government.”

Hamlin looked uncomfortable at the comparison, Lincoln noted. Few Federalists did. It seemed that Hamlin possessed a democratic conscience after all. Perhaps he could even be redeemed to a genuinely democratic party.

After an awkward pause, Hamlin said, “If I may speak plainly, sir, we need Michigan and Nova Scotia to balance New York. Even with the separation of Long Island, that state determines nearly every presidential election.”

Ah, you were glad to keep it as one state when you routinely won it, but now wish to abandon it when the tides of politics ebb against you, Lincoln thought. “Do you think that Michigan and Nova Scotia will so readily vote for you?”

Hamlin shrugged. “I doubt they will vote Republican... particularly since the Republicans are sure to oppose their admission.”

Lincoln considered the matter. He suspected that Nova Scotia would vote Federalist. But Michigan would be more likely to support the Radicals, he judged, and Michigan was surely the greater prize. “So be it, then. Let us introduce a bill together to support to admit Michigan and Nova Scotia... as one state each.”

If this deal with the Federalists held for other matters, Lincoln reflected, there would be much to gain. He had many other proposals he wanted to implement, particularly in terms of foreign policy. The United States had bullied too many small countries, and it carried on its abominable trade in slavery. But politics had taught him the importance of taking one step at a time.


Popular and Electoral Votes for President in 1858

From “1810-1910: A Century of New England Political History”

(c) 1912 by William H. Baldwin

Sandler Publishing Company, Long Island

The 1858 presidential elections were contested against the backdrop of war with Russia, but strangely enough this made little difference to the outcome. The war in North America was settled before the date of election, and no candidate advocated more than naval intervention in the war in Europe. There was more active debate on the question of how New England should be compensated for its participation in the war, but no-one expected this to be answered until the war in Europe ended. The elections were also noteworthy as the first time when Nova Scotia and Michigan voted to elect a president. Their contributions were not expected to be decisive, as the new states had only three electoral votes each [1], but this was still a historic election.

For the presidential candidates, the Federalists returned to their heartland territory, and chose the redoubtable Senator Emory Washburn from Massachusetts to seek the nation’s highest office, and Chauncey Fitch Cleveland of Connecticut to seek the vice-presidential office. The Republicans finally elected the patient Milliard Fillmore of New York as their presidential candidate, and Daniel Haines of New Jersey as vice-president. The Radical convention was the most bitterly-contested. Eventually, the delegates abandoned Thomas Dorr, who had twice failed of election, and nominated Senator Abraham Lincoln of New York, and for their vice-presidential candidate chose Hannibal Hamlin, the man whom Lincoln had brought from the Federalists, in the hope of capturing Maine, a state which had voted Federalist since its creation.

The campaigning was vigorous, particularly against Abraham Lincoln, whom some of the Federalists accused of being an “American-born tyrant”. Lincoln for his part maintained a dignified silence to these slanders, but concentrated again on issues such as the slave trade and foreign policy, and further domestic political reform. Fillmore was caught in the midst of this campaigning, and chose no strong issues to advocate. His best hope of election was from voters who could not stomach either the staunch conservatism of Washburn or the radical liberalism of Lincoln.

The election campaigning confirmed the breakdown of the two-party system, and as the election drew near, it became clear that all three parties had an opportunity of winning the presidential election...

Popular Votes Electoral Votes

State Was. Fil. Lin. Was. Fil. Lin.

Connecticut 21,996 16,997 10,998 10 0 0

Maine 31,655 11,320 32,391 0 0 13

Massachusetts 83,586 28,733 18,284 22 0 0

Long Island 39,124 61,034 56,339 0 15 0

New Hampshire 15,596 13,067 13,488 8 0 0

New Jersey 18,355 41,299 32,122 0 12 0

New York 129,915 168,408 182,844 0 1 49

Rhode Island 14,654 3,249 14,589 5 0 0

Vermont 15,371 15,270 10,629 8 0 0

Michigan 29,645 17,314 34,709 0 0 3

Nova Scotia 22,945 11,515 8,031 3 0 0

Total 422,843 388,206 414,424 56 28 65

At the time, the result of the 1858 elections induced nearly as much controversy as the 1850 elections. Lincoln had won the plurality of votes in the electoral college, but he lagged behind in the overall popular vote count. With the election sent to the House of Representatives, the arguments and bargaining began. Eventually, Fillmore decided that he had more in common with Lincoln than Washburn, and Lincoln was elected as the 13th President of New England.


Letter from John Davies, Connecticut State Representative, to his cousin Richard H. Davies, who resided in Sydney, New South Wales, describing his reaction to the 1858 elections.

Cited in “The Uncivil War: Foreign Relations between the United States and New England during the Davis and Lincoln Presidencies” (c) 1942 Joshua C. Harker. Boston University Press. Boston: New England.

... No matter what result Congress chose, a large faction of the country would claim they had been wronged. The Federalists are arguing that Washburn has been deprived of his rightful status after winning the popular vote. The Radicals proclaim that justice has been done. It makes scant difference. What matters most is the future. During the campaign, Lincoln spoke most vigorously about his views on policy. This leaves the largest question of all, and it is one I hope finds a good answer: Now that he has won the Presidency of what he so fondly calls “our Northern Confederacy”, how shall President Lincoln deal with President Davis of the United States of America?


[1] When Michigan and Nova Scotia were admitted, Congress said, in effect, “Thank you very much. Now please send us two Senators and one Representative each, and we’ll reapportion your representation after the 1860 census.”


Decades of Darkness #56: What Is And What Should Never Be

Excerpts from “Great American Speeches”

(c) 1946 By Peter van Buren,

Bear Flag Publishing Company

Los Angeles, North California

United States of America

Senator John Henry Hammond’s address to the Senate, in response to the reading of a copy of Abraham Lincoln’s inaugural address, 1859

“Sirs, the greatest strength of the United States arises from the harmony of her political and social institutions. This harmony gives her a frame of society, the best in the world, and an extent of political freedom, combined with entire security, such as no other people have ever enjoyed upon the face of the earth. Society precedes government; creates it, and ought to control it; but as far as we can look back in historic times we find the case different; for government is no sooner created than it becomes too strong for society, and shapes and moulds, as well as controls it. In later centuries the progress of civilization and of intelligence has made the divergence so great as to produce civil wars and revolutions; and it is nothing now but the want of harmony between governments and societies which occasions all the uneasiness and trouble and terror that we see abroad. It was this that brought on the American Revolution. We threw off a Government not adapted to our social system, and made one for ourselves. The question is, how far have we succeeded? The United States, so far as that is concerned, is satisfied, harmonious, and prosperous, but demands one more thing: to be let to develop our society as we see fit.

“In this hallowed chamber, we have heard the words of that misplaced Kentuckian, a follower of that other noted resident of that state, Cassius Clay. This misplaced Kentuckian dares to condemn our social institutions, and assert that his misguided government has the right to make demands of us. In this, he is sorely mistaken. For if we first cast off a Government not adapted to our social system, why would we listen to the fleeting leader of a few rebellious states in the north? This man will be cast out of office after such a brief span of years that no-one will bother to heed his words, for they know that a different leader will voice a new policy the day after tomorrow. Mr Lincoln and his fellow Yankees would do well to consider another example of history, the Republic of Florence, which failed in its government and returned to aristocracy because it held its chief officers in place for scarcely a year. In this modern age, having a chief executive who serves only four years is scarcely better, and no-one need listen to someone whose policies may so soon be replaced, and who can never lead his country again. This is the society our rebellious cousins have built for themselves in New England. Fleeting is their leadership; faded is their government; hypocrisy is their guiding principle. They proclaim loudly for the rightness of democracy, of the equality of man, and yet their every action betrays their insincerity. If they respected democracy so much, why did their fathers abandon it and the nation they had democratically chosen, in a misguided rebellion over small matters of commerce? If they truly accepted the equality of man they proclaim when they demand we free people in bondage, they would not exclude so many free men from their own body politic, or continue their practice of bringing in men from across the seas to be held in the lowest rung of society, in unending drudgery.

“For the truth is, in all social systems there must be a class to do the menial duties, to perform the drudgery of life. That is, a class requiring but a low order of intellect and but little skill. Its requisites are vigour, docility, fidelity. Such a class you must have, or you would not have that other class which leads progress, civilization, and refinement. It constitutes the very mud-sill of society and of political government; and you might as well attempt to build a house in the air, as to build either the one or the other, except on this mud-sill. Fortunately for the United States, she found a race adapted to that purpose to her hand. A race inferior to her own, but eminently qualified in temper, in vigour, in docility, in capacity to stand the climate, to answer all her purposes. We use them for our purpose, and call them slaves. We found them slaves by the common ";consent of mankind,"; which, according to Cicero, ";lex naturae est."; The highest proof of what is Nature's law. We are old-fashioned at the United States yet; slave is a word discarded now by ";ears polite;"; I will not characterize that class at the North by that term; but you have it; it is there; it is everywhere; it is eternal.

“The vagrant from New York [Abraham Lincoln] said last month that the whole world had abolished slavery. Aye, the name, but not the thing; all the powers of the earth cannot abolish that. God only can do it when he repeals the fiat, ";the poor ye always have with you;"; for the man who lives by daily labor, and scarcely lives at that, and who has to put out his labor in the market, and take the best he can get for it; in short, his whole hireling class of manual laborers and ";operatives,"; are essentially slaves. The difference between us is, that our slaves are hired for life and well compensated; there is no starvation, no begging, no want of employment among our people, and not too much employment either. Yours are hired by the day, not cared for, and scantily compensated, which may be proved in the most painful manner, at any hour in any street of your large towns. Why, you meet more beggars in one day, in any single street of the city of New York [1], than you would meet in a lifetime in the whole United States. When one of your daily wage-slaves grows old or infirm or injured, your factory-owners cast him out into the streets, with no care for their well-being or humanity, and show him less regard than they would for the dogs they own. But within our system, our property is respected, cared for, and fed. Where is the old or injured slave who is cast out into the cold? You will not find him, for he does not exist. A slave is cared for, he is well-treated. A factory worker in New England, what hope does he have for the future?

“We do not think that whites should be slaves either by law or necessity. Our slaves are black, of another and inferior race. The status in which we have placed them is an elevation. They are elevated from the condition in which God first created them, by being made our slaves. None of that race on the whole face of the globe can be compared with the slaves of the United States. They are happy, content, unaspiring, and utterly incapable, from intellectual weakness, ever to give us any trouble by their aspirations. Yours are white, of your own race, if temporarily cut off by the barriers of language; you are brothers of one blood. They are your equals in natural endowment of intellect, and they feel galled by their degradation. Our slaves do not vote. We give them no political power. Yours would vote, and, fast becoming the majority in your “Confederacy”, will soon become the depositaries of all your political power. If they knew the tremendous secret, that the ballot-box is stronger than ";an army with banners,"; and could combine, where would you be? Your society would be reconstructed, your government overthrown, your property divided, not as they have mistakenly attempted to initiate such proceedings by meeting in parks, with arms in their hands, but by the quiet process of the ballot-box. You have been proclaiming war upon us to our very hearthstones. How would you like for us to send lecturers and agitators North, to teach these people this, to aid in combining, and to lead them?


Excerpts from “Slavery in the New World: How the Industrial Age became the Second Dark Ages”

(c) 1948 by Professor Giuseppe von Ovido

University of Venice

Venice, German Empire

Chapter 6: Agriculturalism in Transition: The Northern States

The old pattern of agricultural slavery in the northern states [Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina] had become well-established by the early nineteenth century: constant overuse of the land on plantation monocultures, leading to soil depletion and the collapse in viability of the plantations. This led to a shift in the use of slaves in the northern states, with some opting to (temporarily) free most of their slaves, while others chose to export them to the burgeoning agricultural states of the Midwest. Particularly after the Third Anglo-American War [2], some of the slaves were shifted to manufacturing, including through the rent/shift method, whereby slaves working on tobacco or wheat for half of the year but were rented out to manufacturers for the other six months (or used in the slaveowner’s own factories, in the case of those rare planters who abandoned class snobbery to establish industrial works as well). This would be an increasing contributor to the acceptance of industrialised slavery.

However, the advance of science restored the viability of plantation agriculture in the northern states during the mid- to late nineteenth century. Experiments begun by planters such as Edmund Ruffin demonstrated how agricultural science, including advances in plowing techniques, systems of crop rotation, better drainage and fertilisers, could restore the declining capacity of the soil. This led to some return to the plantation system in the northern states, including expanded growth of tobacco and other crops. It did not entirely reverse the earlier processes, since some slaves continued to be sold interstate to the booming territories elsewhere in the United States, and manufacturing became of greater importance, but it did allow planters to continue their dominant role within the society of the northern states...


Extracts from “Slaves, Serfs and Peons: Indenture in the Industrial Age”

By Michelle Davies

Hobson University

Eden [Auckland, New Zealand], Kingdom of Australia.

(c) 1947 Eagle Publishing Company: Eden. Used with permission

The Yucatan System

The not-quite-annexation of the Yucatan in 1851 had incalculable influence on the development of indentured labour within the United States. For the first time, the United States had acquired territory where a system of indenture was in place which allowed a categorisation between free and slave; the serfs who had formerly been present in the Yucatan. Many of the soldiers and other observers of Yucatan society began to advocate it as a useful system for maintaining treatment of the more civilized Indian tribes and, in time, for other non-white peoples within the United States.

The initial experience of the Caste Wars in the Yucatan might have been expected to produce a less than positive reaction to the potential of serfdom. However, most of the Americans who saw the system viewed it more as a system which needed perfection, rather than an abject failure. (There was also a strong sense of implicit racism, which could be roughly expressed as “those damn greasers can’t run a society properly; they need the white race to show them how to do it”.) Indeed, as the U.S. Army gradually re-imposed order on the Yucatan, the peninsula’s rich economic potential began to materialise by the late 1850s [3]. The ladino elites gladly accepted American support and re-imposed serfdom on the Maya Indians, but it was a much more carefully-regulated system than previously. The newly-designated serfs still owed labour to the haciendados and plantation owners, but they also had legal protection of their own, including limits on working hours and permission to marry. This system was not invented outright by the Americans, but they had influence in codifying it in a way which minmised the risk of further outbreaks.

As the Yucatan developed further, it became a microcosm for the same frontier American society which would arise in a much larger scale thereafter. Yucatan society consisted of an established elite, the haciendados and some American planters who had established themselves in what was still then classed as the Yucatan Protectorate. Below them were ranked the poor but free citizens, mostly Spanish-speaking but also with some English-speaking anglo immigrants. In the Yucatan, this including the upper-class mestizos in much greater proportion than would be the case elsewhere in former Mexican territory. These groups filled most of the supporting roles in the society: the military, the police, the overseers, and the middle-class roles.

Below the free citizens lay a blurrier class of non-citizens, relatively rare in the Yucatan but more common elsewhere, including some mestizos and other particularly poor people of European descent. These people were gradually assimilated either into freedom or into the class of debt-slave – an American innovation on a pre-existing Mexican system – where they owed labour to a citizen, but could theoretically work off the debt. Debt-slaves were noted for their greater mobility, since they could have their contracts sold to others (usually on request), unlike the lower-class serfs who were bound to a place rather than directly to an owner. Debt-slaves formed the uppermost echelons of indentured society, respected and well-treated, with virtually no limits on their education, and the most readily freed. Debt-slaves in the Yucatan itself were rather a small group, mostly filling administrative roles, but when this system expanded to Mexico proper, they became noted for other roles, particularly as factory labour. People of indentured rank below debt-slaves often sought to be sold into debt-slavery as a difficult but more reliable road to freedom.

Beneath the debt-slaves of the Yucatan lay what was in this case by far the largest class: serfs. These were Maya (and a few other Indian tribes) in a regulated system of bonded labour. In keeping with the pre-American era, serfs were predominantly rural, working land which was either directly owned by the local planter or haciendado, and delivering their produce in exchange for protection. Depending on the arrangements of a particular plantation, the serfs might be left mostly to run their own affairs provided they delivered agricultural produce, or they might be organised to produce plantation crops. This varied from landowner to landowner, but generally speaking the anglos were more likely to impose a plantation system, and reward their serfs more for doing so. Serfs were firmly indentured, but had the aforementioned legal protections, including some protection against physical abuse. This legal protection was far from universally enforced, but sometimes those who struck serfs were punished for assault, and had their punishment widely-publicised [4].

To this already complex social system in the Yucatan, two further groups were gradually added: slaves and convicts. Negro slaves were imported by many of the American planters, and in time by some of the haciendados, since they were deemed to be more tractable and reliable than serfs, and some also considered them more suited to the climate. Slaves were used mostly in cash crops for plantations, rather than for food crops like serfs, but a few slaves were also used in quarries. Slaves fell unquestionably at the bottom of American society, bound by racial views as permanently in a state of property rather than other forms of indenture. The other classes had at least a few legal rights, and were always viewed as people (although not citizens), but blacks in American society were trapped in their role forever. They could not even escape through intermarriage, as a few others were able to do. Mestizos might eventually acquire enough European blood to be classed as white, and thus worthy of freedom, but the “one drop” rule denied such an option to slaves.

The other group used in the Yucatan was convicts. Convict labour was originally used as a punishment, with captured Indians from other areas shipped to the Yucatan to work as de facto slave labour (provided they were deemed to be safe; other Indians were simply killed on capture). Convicts were in many cases treated worse than slaves – who were, after all, valuable – but their children would at least not be slaves. There might occasionally be other forms of punishment, since the children of mixed-blood convicts might also lose citizen status, but they had at least some chance of retaining citizenship. Convicts would be used in many areas throughout American society as it developed, including even some whites who were used as convicts, but few of those whites would be shipped to tropical areas.

Thus, as the Yucatan developed, it formed into a hierarchical society with a variety of classes of free, indentured and slaves. The planters ruled from the top, supported by the other free classes, and then debt-slaves, serfs, convicts and slaves below. The Yucatan developed into a wealthy area as a result, with the enormous potential of sissal supported by other crops such as sugar, coffee and tropical fruit. Timber also became an important commodity, both for export and the beginnings of the shipbuilding industry. The Yucatan saw a growing population of immigrants, including rich anglos and unwilling slaves, particularly after formal annexation, and this brought a gradual growth of the English language, and assisted with assimilation into the rest of the United States.

When this system expanded to Mexico proper, a further class was added: the rank of peon for those mestizos who were bound to the land, like serfs. They were similar in most respects to serfs, but had higher social status and some additional rights, particularly in terms of freedom from abuse. Peons also had much better prospects of freedom through intermarriage. While the child of a serf was always a serf, the child of a peon to a free citizen often could achieve freedom.

The Yucatan adventure was to form the basis of the later American social system [5]. There were important differences in some areas, of course. In particular, there was a distinction between the areas where there was a large Spanish-speaking or Indian population, and those areas which had been underpopulated before English-speakers arrived. The latter areas, forming most of the older parts of the United States, developed much more into a bipolar society, with a large majority of people falling into either white or slave categories, and relatively few of the intermediate classes (only a few who migrated for one reason or another). These areas were also linguistically homogenous much earlier, with English the dominant language throughout their history. The remaining areas had a much more mixed population, dominated either by serfs or debt-slaves, depending on the area, and where Spanish and other languages would linger much longer. These areas also tended to have fewer slaves, and made much more use of the semi-free forms of labour...

Cotton: King of Slavery?

The economic importance of cotton plays an intriguing role in the development of American slavery. On the one hand, there is little doubt that cotton had a strong impetus for the expansion of slave agriculture, driving much of the American expansion into the Mississippi Valley during the first half of the nineteenth century. In 1810, slavery had seemed to be fading in many areas of the United States, but the rapid rise of cotton-based plantation agriculture reversed this trend. From Alabama to Missouri, new territories were opened and filled up with cotton plantations. This led to massively increased demand for slaves, and thus an economic outlet for the otherwise failing slave economies of the northern-tier states such as Virginia, North Carolina and Kentucky, which had previously shown signs of abandoning slavery.

However, although in some aspects cotton was a cause of slavery expansion, in many more significant respects it was a barrier as well. Cotton was a crop of such immense profitability that, for a time, it nearly drove slave labour out of most other agriculture and kept it almost completely out of manufacturing. Some slave-based manufacturing had developed before the War of 1833, and more arose after that war, in large part because of government sponsored industry in key areas to develop its growth and encourage independence from the British Empire and New England. But while manufacturing expanded in the United States, for a time, it was reliant mostly on free labour – except in certain specialised areas – since the market price of cotton slaves was too great. Similarly, other agricultural products such as tobacco, indigo, and rice, were nearly excluded from slave labour by the dominance of cotton. Cotton plantations could typically achieve a return on investment of 16-20% per annum, far in excess of most competitor products, and thus, even in manufacturing where slave labour was profitable, it was less profitable than using the same slaves in cotton (or, in a few cases, tobacco).

The dominance of cotton agriculture to the exclusion of all else gradually faded, however. There were several contributing factors. There was a gradual decline in cotton prices, particularly through over-supply, and in some instances such as the post-War of 1833 agricultural slump. The reduction in cotton profitability thus meant that some other uses of slave labour become competitive.

A second factor was the re-legalisation of the slave trade. Importation of slaves (from Cuba, Brazil and eventually Africa) caused some reduction in the price of slaves. The reimportation of slaves had originally begun as a political measure, but it found intense support from producers in any areas where cheaper slave prices would increase profitability and return on investment, which in practice meant almost anywhere other than cotton. Industrialists, some planters (particularly in the sugar states of Louisiana and Jackson), miners, railroad builders, and others, all encouraged this importation. However, there was always a fine balance. Some importation of slaves was politically permitted, but the existing slaveowners, particularly planters, did not want to se the value of their slaves drop too much (reducing their capital), and this led to a careful moderation in the number of slaves imported.

The third factor, and the one which would in the long-term be most important, was the rise of non-slave indentured labour. Debt-slaves, peons, and serfs were all people with legal rights, but in need of an opportunity to use their labour (and thus gain protection from poverty). They had some distinct advantages over slaves, such as being permitted to read, and being generally more motivated due to the chance to earn freedom. They also had some distinct disadvantages, such as not being capable of being ordered to work quite as hard as slaves. This meant that they were not considered for cotton, but it also meant that they were an indentured labour force available to work in other areas.

Over time, other factors would also further encourage reliance of slaves away from cotton. The diversification of agricultural products as the United States expanded led to some areas where slaves were also highly profitable – such as sugar, sisal, and tropical fruit – and cotton thus declined in relative importance. In the long-term, the rise of new manufacturing techniques such as the rise of assembly lines would find yet other avenues for the use of slave labour...


Excerpts from “Slavery in the New World: How the Industrial Age became the Second Dark Ages”

(c) 1948 by Professor Giuseppe von Ovido

University of Venice

Venice, German Empire

Chapter 9: The Move Into Mexico

One of the key differences between the Old World and the New is that the latter places a much higher importance on racial distinctions. To be a German or a Russian is not a matter of race, but of culture. Yet in the New World, this position is reversed. Many of the unfortunate Negro slaves have been held in bondage for centuries. They speak English, the dominant language of the United States, and have lost their own culture to be replaced by that of their American fellows. Yet they are held out of joining proper society through the barrier of race. New World slavery is, at its heart, racially-based. Although some of these barriers have become blurred in recent times due to ongoing intermarriage, the distinctions amongst American society remain in essence racially based.

This is nowhere made clearer than in the United States’ gradual acquisition of Mexico. The United States first acquired Texas-Coahuila, an area with a considerable population who were separated both by race and language. The American response was to exclude those separate segments of the population from political representation, by keeping Coahuila and West Texas as Territories rather than admitting them as states. When the United States acquired much more of Mexico, they could no longer follow such a practice, since there were many more people who could not be denied some form of representation. Instead, the Americans had to develop new methods of solving what they regarded as a racial problem, and one which led in its turn to the expansion of the American slavery system [6].

The American social system took some time to develop. At first, they simply sought to categorise people on the basis of a combination of race and wealth. The pre-American racial distinctions of blanco, mestizo, and indio were adopted, in a modified form, to form racial distinctions. The granting of “white” status was the rarest, since that mean allowing former Mexicans into the upper echelons of American society. This was mostly granted to the richer blancos¸ particularly the haciendado class. Sometimes wealth proved to be a more important marker even than race, since some rich mestizos and even indios were granted equivalent status to whites soon after the Americans acquired the territory. However, while the United States would make exceptions for those of inferior race who had already reached a position of high status, they would not allow those without such status to acquire it.

Instead, the United States gradually developed a new race-based system of slavery. Peons and serfs were explicit race-based slave classes, the former being mestizos and the latter indios. Here as later, the United States worked through the local elites after a conquest, and used the local haciendados to extend this system, who gradually became American-style planters and landowners. The system of debt-peonage was extended into two classes, peons and debt-slaves, thus granting the haciendados additional wealth through labour they were owed, and seeking to formalise a system which previously had relied mostly on tradition and inertia. This was encouraged through American emphasis on property rights [7], which had been sadly lacking under the former Mexican administration, and one which the haciendados gradually emulated. They were encouraged by the example of those Americans who moved into these northern-tier Mexican provinces and established their own plantations.

The haciendados did not impose the full American system immediately, with many people remaining in a nebulous category of non-citizenship, based on race. After the Americans clarified the rules of citizenship [see the Citizenship Act section, below], the northern-tier Mexican provinces became much more rigidly organised. Many of the free people who owed no debt-peonage were simply classed as citizens, particularly ranchers and those who opposed the still-independent Indians, while the others now had to fit themselves into one of the slavery classes where they could, based on race or convenience. Most of the indios (few of those, in the northern-tier provinces) were classed as serfs, while the mestizos became either peons or debt-slaves.

The race-based patterns of American slavery in Mexico became more complex due to demographic trends. There were many anglo migrants to the former Mexican territories, but these were mostly men. Being men, they sought out women, and found them mostly amongst the mestizos. Marriage was usually enough to raise the status of a peon woman to freedom; if not for herself, then for her children. This was in sharp contrast to the “one drop” rule which the same Americans applied to Negroes. There was considerable intermarriage between whites and mestizo women in the northern-tier provinces during the first two decades of acquisition, and it created a mixed class of free but generally poor whites who formed a large part, sometimes a majority, of the population of the territories. Many of the mestizo men left the United States during those years, settling in the remnant of Mexico to the south.

Once they felt secure in the dominance of their “race”, and with those people they deemed unworthy excluded through the Citizenship Act, the United States felt safe to add former Mexican territory directly to their body politic, starting first with Coahuila and West Texas, then a long list of states stretching to the Pacific. These new states included a higher proportion of free people, including former Mexicans, than would be permitted in later conquests. In many ways, the acquisitions of the First Mexican War were a testing ground. As the United States moved further south, it would acquire new territories with a pre-existing method of classification, and an established system for co-opting local elites and transforming Mexican society (and later other nationalities). This would be a pattern repeated over and over in the history of the United States...


Excerpt from “The New Oxford Historical Dictionary”

(c) 1949 New Oxford University,

Liverpool [Melbourne], Kingdom of Australia

Used with permission.

Citizenship Act: A landmark Act passed by the United States Congress in 1859. This act regulated who should be considered as citizens of the United States, the grades available, and the voting and other rights available to each class. The Act made provision for serfs, debt-slaves, peons, slaves, convicts, Indians, and “other persons who shall be held indentured”. All of these classes (except Indians) were considered to be worth three-fifths of a free man for determining representation for Congress; Indians who were not taxed were not considered for representation.

Its proponents justified the Citizenship Act in terms of Roman citizenship, as the “ancient example of a successful slaveowning republic”. The highest grade was voting citizen, which included anyone who fit into an individual state or territory’s requirements for voting, and held U.S. citizenship. The next grade was non-voting citizen, which included men denied the franchise, women, and children, but these also had legal rights. Below this fell the various grades of indentured labour, with special provisions applicable for slaves (property), and convicts, who could in some circumstances be stripped of their citizenship. The Act also defined non-citizen inhabitants of the United States, including recent immigrants, Indians not taxed, Spanish-speaking citizens of Coahuila, the various groups of the Caribbean Territory [8], and specified some conditions for them to be admitted as citizens (but dependent on the wishes of people in individual states). The Act was passed in response to debates which arose out of the annexation of Cuba in 1858, and how to classify the large mixture of people who had just been acquired, but it applied to all the territory of the United States.


[1] A lot of Americans at this point had trouble distinguishing New York State in New England, where Abraham Lincoln resided, from New York City, which was not part of his state. Hammond either shares this misapprehension, or is willing to stretch the truth to make his point.

[2] A common Germano-Italian name for the War of 1833. German historians often make remarks about Anglo-American relations in the period from 1776-1837 being a drawn three-match series: USA 1, UK 0 (First Anglo-American War/American Revolutionary War), USA 1, UK 1 (Second Anglo-American War/War of 1811), with the decider being a draw.

[3] The United States had not, in fact, imposed complete order on the Yucatan by this time, or even for some time afterwards. Some of the more outlying areas of the Yucatan, particularly the southeast, remained hostile for quite a few more years yet. But the bulk of the Yucatan had been pacified by this time.

[4] Strangely enough, this happened most often in areas where the National Guard judged that the serfs were growing rebellious, and making an example of a few of the more abusive landowners was a politic way to calm them.

[5] Some authors dispute the importance of the Yucatan system to the development of American indentured labour, and ascribe more importance to social trends and developments in the main areas of Mexico annexed during the War of 1833 and the First Mexican War.

[6] German historians, in particular (and to a degree, Russian historians as well) tend to view all forms of American indentured labour as forms of slavery.

[7] Including, naturally, the right to lose all your property and having your land seized if you rebel against the United States.

[8] The Caribbean inhabitants could in practice earn citizenship easily enough if they wanted it, but the United States in 1859 did not want to admit any of the Caribbean islands as states.


Decades of Darkness #57: Jewels of the Caribbean

14 January 1857

Habana, Cuba (Spanish possession)

Richard Francis Jamison, the United States Consul to Cuba, expected to be replaced soon. The word from the mainland indicated that Jefferson Davis had been elected president; the first Democrat to win that office since Andrew Jackson himself. That would lead to a replacement for himself in Cuba, as soon as Davis was inaugurated. So he had been surprised to receive a request for a private meeting by Francisco de Frías, one of Cuba’s more notorious citizens. He was even more surprised when de Frías attended the meeting accompanied by a number of distinguished-looking Cuban gentleman, none of whom offered their names.

Jamison exchanged pleasant greetings with de Frías, then lapsed into an awkward silence while he considered how to deal with other men who preferred to remain anonymous.

De Frías broke the silence. “Consul, I would ask that you keep this meeting informal. We would like your incoming presidente to hear our words, not what you call your “lame duck”.”

Jamison said, “I fear he will not listen. He will want to impose his own consul.”

“He will want to hear this,” de Frías said, firm assurance in his voice. “Have you heard that the war in Spain has ended?”

Jamison nodded. He had heard it, but taken little note, since he considered his tenure here to be brief.

De Frías said, “We have heard that the new republican government plans to abolish slavery within Cuba within a handful of years.”

Jamison raised an eyebrow. That would be a huge change for Cuba, and would be certain to raise howls of protest in U.S. states from Jackson to Jefferson. They relied on many slaves shipped through Cuba, along with those sent from the island itself. And few Americans would be happy to see slavery being abolished in yet another country. “That is significant news, but how does it involve me?”

De Frías said, “We would like you to request – unofficially – of your new Presidente Davis that he annex Cuba to the United States.”

Jamison paused for a long moment before he answered. “So, you want us to keep slavery?”

“What man of property does not?” de Frías asked reasonably. “We think Davis will help us. He is a younger and more vigorous man than your President Cass, and we have heard that your Democratic faction is more concerned with preserving our common institution.”

“So he is,” Jamison said. “But I have not heard that he would go so far as war with Spain to achieve it.”

De Frías shrugged. “It need not be official war. You could send another of your filibusters.”

“They have failed before,” Jamison said. Narciso Lopez had led two unsuccessful filibusters out of West Florida only a few years before, but he had succeeded only in coming to a grisly end. “Why would they do better this time?”

“Because you Americans could send much stronger forces, if you wish to, and because myself and my friends here are ready to ensure that you receive much support from within Cuba.”

Jamison said, “I will pass on this request to President-elect Davis.”


13 August 1858

New White House,

Columbia City,

United States of America

President Jefferson Davis had been quick to confer with his Secretary of State Robert Barnwell after they finally received confirmation that the British were at war with the Russians, supporting their allies the Turks. Davis was concerned with what that might mean in North America.

Barnwell said, “We can expect the Yankees to make a declaration of war against Russia in North America. Those are the terms of their treaty with the United Kingdom: each power shall defend the other if they are attacked by a hostile power in North America.”

Davis barked a laugh. “They meant us. We would have been the only enemy the Yankees had in mind when they signed that treaty. Bad luck for them that it brings them into war with someone else entirely.”

Barnwell said, “Pierce is too hide-bound to do anything more than the treaty requires of him. The Yankees will help the British sink whatever ships the Russians have in the Pacific, then help them conquer a million square miles of snow and mountains and seals, and then sit on their hands.”

“Interesting,” Davis said. “What of the rest of the war?”

Barnwell said, “You would need to consult with the Secretary of War for a more detailed answer. But I expect a long war. Russia is a vast country, but she is backwards, even with the reforms they instituted after their last brush with the Germans. Britain is a great power – which we already knew – but she needs to supply all her armies by long voyage. And the Turks are in chaos, which is why the Tsar eventually declared war.”

“So... the British will be busy for years to come, you think?”

Barnwell nodded. “Almost certainly.” He paused. “Does this mean you want me to draft a proclamation regarding Cuba?”

“I hadn’t thought that far ahead,” Davis said, mostly truthfully. He had been careful in his treatment of the Cuban situation. The Spanish were easily defeated when they encountered American soldiers – they were of an inferior race, like their Mexican cousins – but the British were another matter. So he had left the matter to informal filibusters. The several thousand American citizens had done very well in Cuba over the year, with local support, to the point where they had virtually conquered the island. Yet he had preferred not to officially recognise their efforts.

“And now that you have time to think about it?” Barnwell said.

“I think that we cannot deny the people of Cuba their right to be freed from the oppressive colonial rule of a backward country,” Davis said. “Prepare a recommendation to Congress to approve the annexation of Cuba to the United States, in accordance with the wishes of its inhabitants.”

Barnwell said, “If I may, can I suggest a recommendation that we compensate Spain for our annexation? Even a pittance to salve their pride will give our conquest legitimacy.”

Davis nodded. “See to it.”

That was a dismissal, of course, but Barnwell remained. “There is one related matter, Mr President. Concerning Mr Lansdowne [1] and his, ah, expedition to Central America.”

“He was invited to Nicaragua, if I recollect,” Davis said.

“Yes. Where we may someday need to build a transoceanic canal. Mr Lansdowne has reportedly found backing from Senator Rhett... and others. Do you think we need to prevent him from launching his raid?”

Davis waved a hand. “Let him go. If he succeeds, then we can stand ready to add Nicaragua to our territory. If not... then let him die there.”


3 February 1859,

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Juan Pablo Duarte, President of the Dominican Republic, found little to comfort him these days. Events had seemed so much brighter twenty years ago, when the United States had sent its armies under General Taylor to help the Dominicans in their fight for liberty. At the time, he had thought that was because the United States truly espoused the principles of liberty.

Now he knew better.

The United States simply did not like whites being ruled by blacks. It was as simple as that. They preferred to see a white government over Santo Domingo, even one which refused to reinstate slavery, than a black government. And while there were a few people in his country, and in his government, who wanted to see slavery return, most of them had accepted the path of liberty.

Now, though, the norteamericanos had shown how much, indeed how badly, they had changed. After their assistance in the struggle for independence, Dominicans had fondly called them libertadores. No-one called them that any more. After Mexico, after Cuba, and with their mercenaries fighting in Nicaragua, Duarte himself and the Dominicans had come to know them for the chacals they were. Some few slaveholders in nearby Cuba had requested annexation, and the chacals had swallowed the country. Duarte devoutly hoped none of his own countrymen would invite the chacals back to restore slavery.

“And if they do, who can we turn to for aid?” Duarte asked the air, but received no answer.

Spain? That would be of no help. The Spanish had been unable to prevent the United States annexing Cuba. They would be no better at defending the Dominican Republic.

Britain? They might be of more help. They had an empire which spanned the globe, and a strong navy which might keep out any number of chacal ships. On the other hand, they seemed to be trapped in eternal war with Russia, and that glorious navy had suffered a defeat at the hands of some Russian admiral.

Who else did that leave, Duarte wondered. France? Being ruled by the French would be better than the chacals, but that might encourage them to bring back Haitian rule. No help there.

But what about New England? They had a new president taking office there soon, one whom Duarte had heard had a strong opposition to slavery. What was his name? Ah, yes. Lincoln. Maybe this Lincoln would be prepared to extend protection to the Dominican Republic. New England also had a strong navy, he had heard. If Duarte offered them Samaná Bay as a base for their navy, would they support the liberty of the Dominican Republic?

Duarte started to write a letter, hoping to find out.


6 March 1859

Federal House

Hartford, Connecticut

Republic of New England

Two days after his inauguration, and President Abraham Lincoln already found himself facing the dire responsibilities of his office. Naturally, he had heard no American response yet from his inaugural address, but he expected a response. Instead, he had just received communication from his minister to Spain that their government had agreed to recognise the American annexation of Cuba in exchange for an undisclosed purchase price.

“This will be a scourge for the people of Cuba,” Lincoln murmured. This was diplomatic recognition for the conquest. Signed under some duress, with the Americans already there, but signed nonetheless. Britain would probably follow such recognition.

“But I will not,” Lincoln decided, suddenly resolved. He would let it be conveyed to the United States that New England considered the purchase of Cuba to be invalid and of no consequence. That there would be no diplomatic recognition of it, as long as Lincoln held office.

What would happen to Cuba would be a tyranny against mankind. Those who would have been freed were now slaves forever. Worse, many blacks were already free in Cuba. They would have a choice of slave chains or an uncertain voyage across the ocean to Liberia. And many of the whites in Cuba supported their freedom [2]. This would be brutal.

“But will I have enough time to oppose it?” Lincoln murmured. He had only a four-year term in office; too limited to oppose the United States. There was a constitutional amendment proposed to extend the term of the president to six years. Lincoln had had nothing to do with proposing that amendment – it had been gazetted two years before he took office – but he would welcome its passage. He just thought it unlikely. Three states only had ratified it so far, and nine were required. There would not be enough time.

Someone knocked on the door, then Lincoln’s secretary stuck his head in. “Sir, you have received a letter from the President of Santo Domingo.”


[1] An ATL character with a flair for oratory, inspiration, and possessing absolutely no comprehension of failure. Mark Lansdowne spent two years with the Jaguars in the Yucatan, and is quite experienced at warfare in tropical environments. Since leaving the army, he has acted as a mercenary filibuster, making one failed expedition to Mexico to arrange a filibuster of Veracruz, and failing horribly.

[2] Not as many abolitionist Cubans as OTL, however. U.S. attitudes have followed the slave routes to Cuba, Puerto Rico and Brazil.


Decades of Darkness #58: The Call of Liberty

After 50 years of the Decades of Darkness TL, this is probably a good point to insert a brief synopsis of events so far.

Decades of Darkness is an alternate history where U.S. President Thomas Jefferson dies during a crucial stage of the debate over the Embargo Act, a commercial measure which was causing considerable anger in New England and New York. Clinton and Madison, Jefferson’s successors, continue the Act, precipitating a secession movement in New England, which is dragged into a wider war with Britain (the War of 1811). At the war’s end, the USA is forced to concede the independence of seven states (Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey) as well as conceding parts of the northwest to Michigan Territory (a joint British/New Englander possession) and an Indian Confederation under Tecumseh as a buffer state. The severed states form the Republic of New England, or the ‘Northern Confederacy’ as some of its inhabitants prefer to call it.

After the war, the USA is dominated by slaveholding states and (at first) a desire for vengeance. Another Anglo-American War was fought during the 1830s (the War of 1833) which led to the defeat of the Indian Confederation, but the United States was unable to defeat the combined British-Yankee forces. The war eventually ended with the United States acquiring some small pieces of the former Indian Confederation but abandoning its preference for northern conquest. Instead, the United States turned west and south, conquering Texas after its 1833 revolution, and its citizens poured into northern Mexico.

The First Mexican War (1850-1852) saw the USA defeat the Mexicans and acquire a huge part of northern Mexico – all of what they acquired in OTL, plus Baja California, Tamaulipas, and the rest of Mexico north of the 25th parallel. The USA also established a ‘protectorate’ over the Yucatan. Since then, the USA has also annexed Cuba (1858) and Nicaragua (1859). Slavery is legal in virtually all of the USA, except for a few states in the northeast. Restrictions are being placed on some of its new Spanish-speaking inhabitants which amount to serfdom.

In 1860, the United States is led by President Jefferson Davis, hero of the War of 1833 and the First Mexican War, who has recently proclaimed in his annexation speech (of Nicaragua) that it is the manifest destiny of the white race to unite all the peoples of the Americas until “all these lands are one nation under God”. Recently elected President Abraham Lincoln of the ‘Northern Confederacy’ has declared his opposition to both U.S. slaveholding and expansionism. And this is where the situation continues...

Also, note that the Decades of Darkness timeline is written through a combination of ‘eyewitness accounts’ and ‘historical documents’ – historical texts, newspaper articles, etc. None of these sources are entirely reliable. Eyewitnesses can be mistaken or miss details. Historical documents are written through often-biased historians or reporters, particularly nationalistic ones, and these authors are also sometimes guilty of sloppy research. Thus, they are sometimes biased or inaccurate, and they may focus on their own pet topics and ignore other important historical facts. Not everything they say can be trusted.

Now, onto post #58 itself...


Text of President Abraham Lincoln’s address to the New England Senate, 4 February 1860, responding in part to U.S. President Jefferson Davis’s “Manifest Destiny” speech after the annexation of Nicaragua [see post #51b]

“I am filled with deep emotion at finding myself standing here, in this place, where were collected together the wisdom, the patriotism, the devotion to principle, from which sprang the institutions under which we live. You have kindly suggested to me that in my hands is the task of restoring peace to the present distracted condition of the country, with the challenges that confront us both within our borders and without. I can say in return, sirs, that all the political sentiments I entertain have been drawn, so far as I have been able to draw them, from the sentiments which originated and were given to the world from this hall. I have never had a feeling politically that did not spring from the sentiments embodied in the Hartford Convention Report.

I have often pondered over the dangers which were incurred by the men who assembled here, and framed and adopted that noble document. I have pondered over the toils that were endured by the officers and soldiers of the army who achieved that independence. I have often inquired of myself, what great principle or idea it was that kept this Confederacy so long together. It was not the mere matter of the separation of the New England states from the old country, but that sentiment first expressed by that convention, which gave liberty, not alone to the people of this country but, I hope, to the world, for all future times.

Now, my friends, it is to this wider world that we now must turn in our search for liberty. For while we have accomplished much in the cause of liberty at home¸ let us not forget the cause of liberty abroad. For our neighbour to the south, though sharing a common birth of liberty with our own beloved Confederacy, has now abandoned that course, and would deny that to others. So we have to determine our own course, if we can not just defend our own liberty, but protect those of others. I will consider myself one of the happiest men in the world, if I can help to save it. It is my firm belief that we can do so, and that we must do so. For our fellow Republic in Santo Domingo has asked for our protection, and I would ask this Congress to declare a Protectorate over that noble republic. With this we shall form a true protectorate, not the mockery of justice which the Americans have established in the Yucatan, but one established to defend the liberty to which we all aspire. If this country cannot be saved upon that principle, it will be truly awful. But if this country cannot be saved without giving up that principle, I was about to say I would rather be assassinated on this spot than surrender it.”


13 April 1860

Buffalo, New York

Republic of New England

Diplomatic protocols often struck Abraham Lincoln as frivolous wastes of time, but especially so in this case. There had never before been a formal state visit between a New England President and a Canadian monarch. So their various aides had lavished considerable effort on ceremonies, presentations, and displays, including a parade by several contingents of the Continental Army, followed by their counterparts in the Royal Canadian Army, then, in a carefully negotiated gesture, a small contingent of British Regulars who had been invited from New Brunswick. With all the ceremonies involved, it took all of the morning and part of the afternoon before he was finally able to settle down with King James to discuss matters of state.

Lincoln said, “Firstly, I would like to congratulate your army for their excellent work in Alaska, driving the Russians out of North America. Our two nations will be safer with that barbarous nation removed from the continent we share.” Lincoln did not bother asking whether Alaska would become part of Canada or not; that question would not be answered until the war in Europe was settled.

James said, “And I would like to thank you for the assistance of your navy in defeating the Russians; without it our work would have become much more difficult.”

Lincoln nodded. He had expected this response, and it led nicely into one of the main points he wanted to raise. “While our armed forces did well, they still encountered some difficulties in co-ordination, in confusion of command, and in differences in equipment and training. It has occurred to me recently that our two nations would be better served by combining our armed forces.”

James’s eyes widened. “How do you mean, combine them?”

Lincoln said, “If both our armies and navies are raised and trained together, it would enable us to make much more efficient use of our resources. We could deploy more men, and better coordinate our operations, in the event of any... future wars.”

James said, “If we fight the United States, you mean.”

Lincoln replied, “If it comes to that, sir, then yes, then I would prefer that we stand together. Benjamin Franklin may have been an American, but he spoke truthfully we he said that we must all hang together, or we will all hang separately.”

James said, “That may be so, if it brings my country security. But if it means that we are dragged into a war with the Americans which is of our making, not theirs, then I want no part of it.”

Lincoln said, “You mean the Dominican Republic.”

The King of Canada nodded. “You have declared that you will make that country a protectorate. All well and good, in itself, but that will anger the United States. Ever since the last war, they have looked south rather than north. I would rather they continue to do so... and if they see us involving ourselves in the south, they may wish to expand north.”

Lincoln said, “The United States are strong, but do we wish them to grow even stronger? If we leave them to expand, how much stronger will they become in ten or twenty years?”

“How many more problems will they buy for themselves by expanding?” James said. “They had no small difficulty pacifying the Yucatan. Indeed, it still troubles them to this day. Do you think they will be warmly welcomed in Cuba? A revolt there will come soon enough, I am sure.”

“Perhaps,” Lincoln said. He had quietly been doing what he could to stir up such trouble in Cuba already. “But nonetheless, though it may take them some time, eventually they will turn Cuba into a state – or states, more likely. Similarly with the Yucatan, and perhaps more of Mexico. We must stop them somewhere.”

James said, “We would do better not to give them strong reason to fight us. I am sure some shipments of arms might find their way into the hands of Cuban revolutionaries, and that would be all to the good. But if we are to combine our militaries, we must make sure that we do so to defend ourselves, not to invite war.”

Lincoln said, “So be it, then.” He expected no further progress could be made on this subject... yet. He had one other point he wished to discuss. “Fifteen years ago, we sought to purchase New Brunswick and the land around the Niagara. Now, we would do the same again. I understand my predecessor, Franklin Pierce, began these negotiations with you. I believe this would be the ripe time to pursue them, and settle the question of British North America, which would be more conveniently located as part of Canada or New England. Given the cost they have incurred in their continuing war, I believe that the United Kingdom might look favourably on a request by New England to purchase New Brunswick – perhaps after another plebiscite, as previously, and I would also ask if you would consider the sale of southern Ontario – again, if your people wish it.”

James said, “These negotiations were difficult. I will not sell out my citizens in Ontario. Many of the Iroquois there would, frankly, loathe Yankee rule. They have long memories. You have transit rights through there, and that is sufficient to keep you connected to Michigan.”

Lincoln nodded. He had feared as much, although it would not stop him agitating for the purchase. “What of New Brunswick?”

James said, “For that, you must ask in London, not North America. If the people of New Brunswick would rather be ruled from Hartford than Kingston, I will not oppose it, but it must be their choice.”

Lincoln considered the matter. In the last plebiscite, more people had favoured remaining with Britain, but more had favoured New England to joining Canada. Of course, that might well have changed now that the Canadian experiment had proven successful. “I will discuss that with the British minister, then,” Lincoln said. He had not gotten everything he would have liked out of this visit, although there were still considerable matters of trade to discuss. He also made a mental note to ask the British minister, Lord Lyons [1], about extending protection to Liberia as well. He did not want the growing American interest in the slave trade to extend itself to the African continent. Not any more than it already had, anyway.


From “The Decline and Fall of the Ottoman Empire”

By Professor Maitmas Achekmatov,

Translated by Arthur Coburg,

Constantinople, Russian Federation.

(c) 1974 Imperial Free Press, Constantinople.

Used with permission.


The Turkish War was the final blow for a nation which had already endured long past its fitness to rule. While once it had been a nation of great renown, and it lasted for nearly six hundred years, the Ottoman Empire had been fading ever since its defeat at the Battle of Vienna in 1683. Its decline took nearly two centuries, but in the end the crumbling Ottoman authority could not hold onto their subjects any longer. The Second Congress of Vienna (1863-1864) redrew the map of Europe, Asia and North Africa, settling both the outcome of the Turkish War and the Swiss War, and ending most of the territorial disputes in Europe (except for those involving the Italian and Iberian peninsulas). In that Congress, no room could be found for an Ottoman Empire...

Chapter 136: The Bear and the Whale: The Turkish War (1858-1862)

The Turkish War was one of the bloodiest wars which Europe was to see during the nineteenth century. Although ostensibly fought over the rights of a few million Orthodox Christians in the Balkan Peninsula, the primary cause of the war was the ongoing colonial struggle between Britain and Russia. Britain supported the Ottoman Empire because she feared that Russian influence might extend to the Mediterranean, while Russia saw it as her historic destiny to continue the southward march which had begun under Peter the Great. The Ottoman Empire became the chosen battleground between these two nations, although military actions naturally extended to other parts of the world. Other nations also held interests in this strategic region, particularly France and Germany, but neither of them chose to intervene until the death throes of the Ottomans. The Austrians were the only German nation likely to intervene, but their previous pact with the Tsar [2] ensured their neutrality. The French Emperor vacillated over intervention, until he was distracted by events elsewhere in Europe.

This left Russia and Britain to oppose each other as best they could. Both were great powers, but both had difficulty striking each other’s vital interests. The Russian bear was master of his land territories, but the British whale ruled the seas, and neither could easily threaten the other. Despite the perennial British concerns over the Russian threat to India, even the mighty Russian bear had not yet learned to ski, and thus could not assault the main British possession in Asia. The British ruled the seas, and could thus take isolated Russian outposts such as Alaska, but they lacked the capacity to threaten the core of Russia’s territories. Despite some other peripheral naval action, including occasional Russian naval raids on North Africa before the British secured the Straits, most of the war was confined to the core territories of the Ottoman Empire: the Balkan Peninsula and Asia Minor.

Even within this region, neither the British nor the Russians could deliver decisive blows to the other. The British established naval control over the Black Sea relatively quickly, but the bulk of their land forces remained tied down in the lands of the Bulgars, attempting to drive out the Russian forces. Eventually, it was the Ottoman Empire itself which collapsed, unable to take the strain of the enduring war, as many of her subject peoples rose up in revolt. When the revolts spread to Constantinople itself, with the Sultan deposed, it became a question of how much the bear and the whale could salvage from the ruin of the Ottoman Empire...

The British were able to secure their key interest: protecting the Straits of Constantinople, by establishing a protectorate over the new Turkish state which included a narrow strip of Europe. The rest of the Balkan Peninsula became a struggle for influence, with Russia consolidating its control over Moldavia and Wallachia, while establishing an independent Serbia under a Russian prince, and swallowing the lands of the Bulgars and some of Turkish Asia. The Greeks added to their territory, as did the Austrians, while the French and British were left to argue over who would gain control of the former Ottoman possessions in the Holy Land, North Africa and Arabia. The fate of the surviving Muslims in Europe [viz, those in the OTL nation of Albania, and nearby areas] would not be settled until the Second Congress of Vienna...


[1] Not the Lord Lyons of OTL, but a ‘brother’ of the same name.

[2] An agreement to divide the Balkans into spheres of influence, with the major portion going to Russia, signed by both nations to end the Confederation War earlier in the 1850s.


Decades of Darkness #59a: The Numbers of the Beast

Population Data for the United States: 1860

Taken From “The United States In Expansion, 1850-1950: A Century of Triumph”

(c) 1952 By Harold Wittgenstein

Columbia Press: Columbia [Knoxville, Tennessee]

State Slaves[1] Non[2] Ind. Whites Total

Alabama 300,722 0 0 375,757 676,479

Arkansas 82,209 0 0 164,094 246,303

Coahuila 45,544 24,829 11,147 130,835 212,356

Delaware 3,530 0 0 86,247 89,778

E. Florida 39,886 0 0 68,409 108,295

E. Texas 82,088 0 0 281,670 363,758

Georgia 490,246 0 0 655,339 1,145,586

Illinois 16,837 0 0 693,670 710,507

Indiana 13,887 0 0 670,973 684,860

Iowa 10,433 0 0 378,772 389,205

Jackson 37,192 0 0 57,369 94,561

Jefferson 70,316 0 0 282,503 352,819

Kentucky 248,047 0 0 947,634 1,195,681

Louisiana 230,985 0 0 295,168 526,152

Maryland 104,110 0 0 496,873 600,983

Mississippi 268,909 0 0 281,339 550,248

Missouri 118,353 0 0 531,046 649,399

N. California 18,874 6,688 19,197 76,146 120,905

N. Carolina 358,729 0 0 678,634 1,037,362

Ohio 1,233 0 0 2,275,892 2,277,126

Pennsylvania 1,977 0 0 1,952,559 1,954,536

S. Carolina 417,187 0 0 394,159 811,346

Tennessee 275,614 0 0 960,323 1,235,938

Virginia 518,356 0 0 1,090,159 1,608,515

Washington 93,380 0 0 359,732 453,112

W. Florida 299,896 0 0 378,204 678,099

W. Texas 30,240 12,209 1,218 60,334 104,001

Westylvania 904 0 0 887,669 888,574

Wilkinson 4,360 0 0 251,250 255,610

Total 4,184,045 43,726 31,562 15,762,760 20,022,094

Territories[3] Slaves[1] Non[2] Ind. Whites Total

Chihuahua 3,854 41,245 61,867 56,289 163,255

Guadeloupe 77,897 0 0 80,311 158,208

Indian 3,101 0 55,392 42,710 101,203

Kansas 45,102 0 0 312,248 357,350

Nebraska 6,994 0 0 286,250 293,244

New Leon[4] 60,959 62,238 115,585 105,524 344,306

New Mexico 5,151 19,289 26,579 93,214 144,233

N. Durango 12,146 4,514 4,487 17,116 38,263

Oregon[5] 0 0 0 81,124 81,124

Sonora[6] 3,160 23,588 43,807 50,645 121,200

S. California 2,623 463 9,495 9,558 22,138

Tamaulipas 90,014 37,799 54,056 112,519 294,388

Virgin Islands 44,564 0 0 18,880 63,444

Total 355,565 189,136 371,268 1,266,387 2,182,355

Total Population (States + Territories)

Slaves[1] Non[2] Ind. Whites Total

4,539,610 232,862 402,830 17,029,147 22,204,449

External Territories

Territory Slaves[1] Non[2] Ind. Whites Total

Yucatan[7] 23,876 99,914 361,234 39,876 524,900

Cuba[8] 616,990 220,063 0 699,181 1,536,234

Nicaragua[9] 0 415,000 0 0 415,000

Estimated U.S. Population (including dependencies)

Slaves[1] Non[2] Ind. Whites Total

5,180,476 967,839 764,064 17,768,204 24,680,583


The Presidential Elections of 1860

From “The Atlas of American Political History”

(c) 1946 By Karl Wundt

Lone Pine Publishing Company

Hammersford [Salem, Oregon], Oregon State

United States of America


The 1860 elections saw a return to a two-cornered struggle, as the Freedom Party lost some of their fervour and their candidate Salmon Chase of Westylvania had no realistic chance to gain the presidential office (although they remained a force in Congress and some of the states). There was no particular struggle for the Democratic presidential nomination, with Davis elected unopposed, but the question of the vice-presidential nomination became much more challenging. A number of potential candidates presented themselves (particularly Robert Barnwell of South Carolina), no doubt eager to serve under Davis and then be in a firm position for the 1864 elections, when Davis was expected to retire. However, Davis apparently felt assured enough of re-election (understandable, given the popularity of his recent annexations) that he recommended a candidate whom none had expected – Senator Abraham Myers of South Carolina [10]. Some have argued that Davis was thinking of a third term, and thus chose a vice-president who was unlikely to gain the presidential nomination on his own. In any event, the 1860 elections saw the Democratic ticket of Davis and Myers against the Patriotic ticket of Charles Faulkner (Virginia) and the popular war hero Governor William Travis (North California) as vice-presidential candidate to counter Davis’s military reputation, in an election result which most treated as a foregone Democratic victory.

Popular Votes Electoral Votes

State Faulkner Davis Chase Faulkner Davis Chase

Alabama 16,233 27,054 1,804 0 13 0

Arkansas 6,498 12,012 1,181 0 6 0

Coahuila 7,169 8,478 53 0 5 0

Delaware 3,622 2,484 4,243 0 0 3

E. Florida 3,037 4,957 215 0 3 0

E. Texas 17,914 14,872 1,014 8 0 0

Georgia 25,951 51,116 1,573 0 20 0

Illinois 40,788 33,296 9,156 16 0 0

Indiana 38,648 31,402 10,467 15 0 0

Iowa 25,453 16,363 3,636 9 0 0

Jackson 1,928 4,888 69 0 3 0

Jefferson 14,238 18,645 1,017 0 8 0

Kentucky 38,663 63,681 11,372 0 23 0

Louisiana 18,418 16,293 708 10 0 0

Maryland 18,484 16,695 24,446 0 0 13

Mississippi 10,803 22,620 338 0 10 0

Missouri 29,938 32,513 1,275 0 14 0

N. California 6,670 2,467 0 3 0 0

N. Carolina 36,646 42,347 2,443 0 19 0

Ohio 122,898 106,512 43,697 47 0 0

Pennsylvania 135,898 89,037 9,372 41 0 0

S. Carolina 16,555 29,798 946 0 14 0

Tennessee 43,791 63,381 8,067 0 24 0

Virginia 61,485 68,026 1,308 0 30 0

Washington 18,130 24,606 432 0 10 0

W. Florida 13,502 31,769 113 0 13 0

W. Texas 3,837 3,205 198 3 0 0

Westylvania 53,260 25,565 7,695 19 0 0

Wilkinson 16,858 12,086 1,206 7 0 0

Total 847,319 876,168 168,045 178 215 16


[1] The figure for slaves was sometimes inaccurate, particularly in the northern-tier states such as Maryland and Delaware, who tended to mark some of the de facto free blacks as slaves, or just discount them from the census altogether. Legally, of course, blacks cannot be classed as free, although many still have de facto freedom in 1860.

[2] i.e. non-citizens, all those who fell into the categories of peon, debt-slave, or just don’t have a categorisation yet.

[3] The population figures for some of the territories, especially the former Mexican lands, are somewhat less then reliable. Wittgenstein has used the best figures available, however.

[4] New Leon includes those parts of OTL Coahuila north of the 25th parallel which weren’t swallowed by the USA when they acquired Texas in 1834.

[5] Influenced by the British-Canadians to the north, the people of Oregon tend to class Indians as white, at least in 1860. (Those who make it onto the census, anyway). Whether this will last into the admission of Oregon as a state is another question entirely.

[6] Sonora includes the northern quarter of OTL Sinaloa, which was basically not settled in OTL.

[7] Yucatan was not, strictly speaking, a U.S. territory in 1860. But no-one was in any doubts which way it would end up, it would just be a question of how long until the ‘sovereign’ government of Yucatan requested annexation, and how long before the USA agreed.

[8] There was no formal census of Cuba in 1860; the military situation was still too volatile. This is an estimate based on later data. The noncitizen population represents those who were mixed-race or otherwise free blacks, and who would have to have their status clarified.

[9] Nicaragua’s census figure is also an estimate; there is no firm data available. The population was classed as non-citizen for convenience, although a portion of the population was expected to be classed as white eventually.

[10] The man who in OTL became Colonel Abraham Meyers, Quartermaster-General of the Confederate Army, and who had Fort Myers, Florida named after him. ITTL, Myers took more of a military line, fighting in the Second Seminole War and the First Mexican War, before entering politics.


Decades of Darkness #59b: The Marks of the Beast

Population Data for New England: 1860

Source: New England Bureau of Statistics

State Blacks Whites Total

Connecticut 5,539 536,562 542,101

Maine 701 703,663 704,364

Massachusetts 4,569 1,350,718 1,355,288

Long Island 15,140 958,340 973,480

New Hampshire 1,239 359,441 360,680

New Jersey 21,061 697,889 718,951

New York 17,432 2,987,686 3,005,117

Rhode Island 1,838 190,400 192,238

Vermont 630 350,818 351,448

Michigan 28,561 1,166,443 1,195,003

Nova Scotia 1,381 424,145 425,527

Total 98,091 9,726,104 9,824,196


Population Data for Canada: 1860 [1]

Source: New England Historical Archives, Hartford, Connecticut

Province Population

Quebec 1,150,005

Ontario 1,410,759

Wisconsin 550,951

Other [2] 121,250

Total 3,232,965


Population Data for British North America: 1860 [1]

Source: New England Historical Archives, Hartford, Connecticut

Province Population

New Brunswick 275,280

Prince Edward Island 75,705

Newfoundland 125,020

Total [3] 476,005


6 September 1860

New White House,

Columbia City,

United States of America

Whenever U.S. Secretary of State Robert Barnwell thought he understood Jefferson Davis, the President found a way to surprise him. After receiving confirmation that New England had decided to formally extend a protectorate over Santo Domingo, Barnwell had expected to be called in to deliver a declaration of war to New England, or at least a strongly-worded note of protest.

Instead, Davis had only asked him to draft a note stating that the United States refused to recognise New England’s protectorate as legal, and that it reserved the right to intervene there at a time of its choosing.

Barnwell said, “So, Mr President, when shall we end the Yankees attempts to block our rightful path into the Caribbean?”

“We need not hurry,” Davis answered. “We can wait years if need be, until the time is ripe.”

Barnwell withheld a cough. Davis had clearly not thought things through; a common fault of his. “Surely this is the best time to fight New England, with their principal ally busy in Europe.”

Davis shook his head. “We thought that once before. During the War of 1811, Madison and the warhawks believed the British would be too involved with Napoleon to fight the United States. They were wrong. Never underestimate the British lion.”

“We are far stronger now than we were then,” Barnwell insisted.

“So are the British. And the Tsar is no Napoleon, either. The one thing I do not want is to give the British a reason to fight another long war. We cannot know how soon the war will end in Europe. That would leave us fighting the full weight of the British again, without even the French to distract them as they did in 1834.”

Reluctantly, Barnwell nodded. Davis’s reasoning was cogent. It also made him wonder what had provoked this rare flash of insight from the President. “But if you are worried about angering the British, why did you allow Cuba and Nicaragua?”

“Because while the British disapprove of those, it is not a direct attack on their interests, as a war with New England would inevitably be. By the time their war with Russia is over, they will have had time to accept our acquisitions.”

“We could defeat the Yankees,” Barnwell said.

Davis said, “On the field of battle. But there is more to a conquest than merely defeating the enemy.”

“I don’t follow, Mr. President.”

Davis said, “Speaking in the abstract, I would gladly remove New Jersey and Michigan from New England. The former would let us overlook their greatest port; the latter would gain us dominance over the Great Lakes. But to acquire them alone would have the Yankees in a mood for vengeance, much as we were after the War of 1811. They would never let us alone over them, and they would find British backing soon enough for another war.”

“Surely we should seize all of New England,” Barnwell said.

Davis said, “No. That is the one thing I do not want. We have enough awkwardness with three states still opposing rights of property. How much worse do you think things would be with another eleven abolitionist states? The Yankees are fervently opposed to our social institutions. They would be far worse inside the United States than out of it. No, I want to dominate New England – and Canada – but I do not think we would be well-served by conquering them.”

“So, we are to do nothing about the Yankees’ venture into the Caribbean?”

Davis smiled. “Far from it. Send word to our consul in Puerto Rico, seeking whether the landowners there would like our protection for slavery, just as we granted it to Cuba. And let the word be spread – informally – that the rest of Central America looks ripe for filibusters.”


Excerpt from “The New Oxford Historical Dictionary”

(c) 1949 New Oxford University,

Liverpool [Melbourne], Kingdom of Australia

Used with permission.

“Filibuster”: A term applied both to individuals and to expeditions for private military action against foreign countries. Filibusters ranged from small-scale looting expeditions to attempts to overthrow established governments. The term is most commonly applied to the actions by various American citizens in Central America and the Caribbean during the mid-nineteenth century, and also to some actions by British and Australian citizens during the rest of the century. Many filibusters were unsuccessful, including most of those which did not eventually receive some form of government backing, and most also required some local support for lasting success. Some important filibusters led to the eventual U.S. acquisition of Cuba (1857), Nicaragua (1858), Puerto Rico (1861) and Honduras (1862). Many later filibusters involved intervention in one side of a civil war, or of assisting an exiled political leader to return to power (e.g. assisting General José María Medina to return to power in Honduras and then later deposing him). Most filibusters without government or local support failed (e.g. Lopez’s two expeditions to Cuba, or Lansdowne’s 1862 expedition to Veracruz).


12 October 1862

New White House,

Columbia City,

United States of America

“In Veracruz? Why was Lansdowne foolish enough to attack there?” President Davis demanded.

Secretary of State Robert Barnwell had seen many outbursts of rage from Davis over the years, but he thought this one particularly uncalled for. “You did spread the world that filibusters could continue.”

“Yes, in places where we were invited in, or some microscopic chunk of Central America which no-one in Europe knows the name of! Not Mexico. That’s a country people care about.”

“The problem with encouraging filibusters is that we have no control over them,” Barnwell said, in lieu of shouting “You fool, if you throw so many knives into the air, don’t be surprised when one lands on you!”

“Be that as it may, we have to decide what to do with this latest expedition. I don’t want another war with Mexico yet. Nothing could be better calculated to anger Europe. Islands already holding slaves or small nations full of jungle and mosquitos are one thing. A country of six or seven million inhabitants is quite another.”

“Indeed. There will be trouble over this,” Barnwell said. He did not know, then, just know how much trouble.


[1] Unlike their counterparts across the border, the Canadian and British censuses did not separate out Negroes during 1850.

[2] Includes British Columbia and Northwest Territories, but does not include Alaska, which had not yet been formally annexed in 1860.

[3] The convenience of the census figures all ending in multiples of five has led some demographic historians to question whether there was some amendment to the census figures. Particularly given the discrepancy between the census figures and the recorded votes for the plebiscites in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island in 1861.


Decades of Darkness #60: In The Fading Light

New White House Funeral Sermon for President Jefferson Davis

Columbia, F.D.

Delivered 6 March 1863

Dr. William H. Stratford, pastor of the Baton Rogue Avenue Baptist Church which Davis attended while President, delivered this funeral sermon in the Great Room of the New White House. Dr Stratford was at Davis’s side when he died four days earlier, and rode the Davis funeral train to West Florida, where he concluded the burial service with a prayer. [1]

As we stand here today, mourners around this coffin and around the lifeless remains of our beloved chief magistrate, we recognize and we adore the sovereignty of God. His throne is in the heavens, and His kingdom ruleth over all. He hath done, and He hath permitted to be done, whatsoever He pleased. “Clouds and darkness are round about Him; righteousness and judgment are the habitation of His throne.” His way is in the sea, and His path in the great waters, and His footsteps are not known. “Canst thou by searching find out God? Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? Deeper than hell; what canst thou know? The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea. If He cut off, and shut up, or gather together, then who can hinder Him? For He knoweth vain men; he seeth wickedness also; will He not then consider it?” We bow before His infinite majesty. We bow, we weep, we worship.

“Where reason fails, with all her powers,

There faith prevails, and love adores.”

Those were cruel, cruel hands, those dark hand of the assassins, which smote our honored, wise, and noble President, and filled the land with sorrow. But above and beyond those hands there is another which we must see and acknowledge. It is the chastening hand of a wise and a faithful Father. He gives us this bitter cup. And the cup that our Father hath given us, shall we not drink it?

“God of the just, Thou gavest us the cup:

We yield to thy behest, and drink it up.”

“Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth.” O how these blessed words long cheered and strengthened and sustained us through all these long and weary years of humble pride, when our fathers and brothers on so many ensanguined fields were falling and dying for a Union whose cause seemed forever lost! How we cheered as we strengthened, until again the Lord saw fit to send us this new test. True, this new sorrow and chastening has come in such an hour and in such a way as we thought not, and it bears the impress of a rod that is very heavy, and of a mystery that is very deep. That such a life should be sacrificed, at such a time, by such a foul and diabolical agency; that the man at the head of the nation, whom the people had learned to trust with a confiding and a loving confidence, and upon whom more than upon any other were centered, under God, our best hopes for the true and speedy growth of the country; that he should be taken from us, just as he was beginning to be animated and gladdened with the hope of ere long enjoying with the people the blessed fruit and reward of his and their toil, and care, and patience, and self-sacrificing devotion to the interests of our blessed country – O it is a mysterious and a most afflicting visitation! But it is our Father in heaven, the God of our fathers, and our God, who permits us to be so suddenly and sorely smitten; and we know that His judgments are right, and that in faithfulness He has afflicted us. In the midst of our rejoicings we needed this stroke, this dealing, this discipline; and therefore He has sent it. Let us remember, our affliction has not come forth out of the dust, and our trouble has not sprung out of the ground. Through and beyond all second causes let us look, and see the sovereign permissive agency of the great First Cause. It is His prerogative to bring light out of darkness and good out of evil. Surely the wrath of man shall praise Him, and the remainder of wrath He will restrain. In the light of a clearer day we may yet see that the wrath which planned and perpetuated the death of the President, was overruled by Him whose judgements are unsearchable, and His ways are past finding out, for the highest welfare of all those interests which are so dear to the Christian patriot. Let us not be faithless, but believing.

“Blind unbelief is prone to err,

And scan His work in vain;

God is his own interpreter,

And He will make it plain.”

We will wait for his interpretation, and we will wait in faith, nothing doubting. He who has led us so well, and defended and prospered us so wonderfully during our forty lean years and thirteen fat years, will not forsake us now. He may chasten, but He will not destroy. He may purify us more and more in the furnace of trial, but He will not consume us. No, no! He has chosen us as He did his people of old in the furnace of affliction, and He has said of us as He said of them, “This people have I formed for myself; they shall show forth My praise.” Let our principal anxiety now be that this new sorrow may be a sanctified sorrow; that it may lead us to deeper repentence, to a more humbling sense of our dependence upon God, and to the more unreserved consecration of ourselves and all that we have to the cause of truth and justice, of law and order, of good government, of pure and undefiled religion. Then, though weeping may endure for a night, joy will come in the morning. Blessed be God! despite of this great and sudden and temporary darkness, the morning has begun to dawn--the morning of a bright and glorious day, such as our country has never seen. That day will come and not tarry, and the death of an hundred Presidents and their Cabinets can never, never prevent it. While we are thus hopeful, however, let us also be humble. The occasion calls us to prayerful and tearful humilation. It demands of us that we lie low, very low, before Him who has smitten us for our sins. O that all our rulers and all our people may bow in the dust to-day beneath the chastening hand of God! and may their voices go up to Him as one voice, and their hearts go up to Him as one heart, pleading with Him for mercy, for grace to sanctify our great and sore bereavement, and for wisdom to guide us in this our time of need. Such a united cry and pleading will not be in vain. It will enter into the ear and heart of Him who sits upon the throne, and He will say to us, as to His ancient Israel, “In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment: but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy upon thee, saith the Lord, thy Redeemer.”

I have said that the people confided in the late lamented President with a full and a loving confidence. Probably no man since the days of Washington was ever so deeply and firmly embedded and enshrined in the very hearts of the people as Jefferson Davis. Nor was it a mistaken confidence and love. He deserved it well--deserved it all. He merited it by his character, by his acts, and by the whole tenor, and tone, and spirit of his life. He was courageous and sincere, brave and honest, truthful and just, benevolent and kind. His perceptions were quick and clear, his judgments were calm and accurate, and his purposes were good and pure beyond a question. Always and everywhere he aimed and endeavored to be right and to do right. His integrity was thorough, all-pervading, all-controlling, and incorruptible. It was the same in every place and relation, in the consideration and the control of matters great or small, the same firm and steady principle of power and beauty that shed a clear and crowning lustre upon all his other excellencies of mind and heart, and recommended him to his fellow citizens as the man, who, after so many times of peril, which the future life of the nation was at stake, should be chosen to occupy, in the country and for the country, its highest post of power and responsibility. How wisely and well, how purely and faithfully, how firmly and steadily, how justly and successfully he did occupy that post and meet its grave demands, is known to you all, known to the country and the world. He saw his duty as the Chief Magistrate of a great and imperilled people, and he determined to do his duty, and his whole duty, seeking the guidance and leaning upon the arm of Him of whom it is written, “He giveth power to the faint, and to them that have no might He increaseth strength.” Yes, he leaned upon His arm. He recognized and received the truth that the “kingdom is the Lord's, and He is the governor among the nations.” He remembered that “God is in history,” and he felt that nowhere had His hand and His mercy been so marvelously conspicuous as in the history of this nation. He hoped and he prayed that that same hand would continue to guide us, and that same mercy continue to abound to us in the time of our greatest need. I speak what I know, and testify what I have often heard him say, when I affirm that that guidance and mercy were the props on which he humbly and habitually leaned; they were the best hope he had for himself and for his country. Hence, when he was leaving his home in West Florida, and coming to this city to take his seat in the executive chair of a disturbed and troubled nation, he said to the old and tried friends who gathered tearfully around him and bade him farewell, “I leave you with this request: pray for me.” They did pray for him; and millions of other people prayed for him; nor did they pray in vain. Their prayer was heard, and the answer appears in all his subsequent history; it shines forth with a heavenly radiance in the whole course and tenor of his administration, from its commencement to its close. God raised him up for a great and glorious mission, furnished him for his work, and aided him in its accomplishment. Nor was it merely by strength of mind, and honestry of heart, and purity and pertinacity of purpose, that He furnished him; in addition to these things, He gave him a calm and abiding confidence in the overruling providence of God and in the ultimate triumph of truth and righteousness through the power and the blessing of God. This confidence strengthened him in all his hours of anxiety and toil, and inspired him with calm and cheering hope when others were inclining to despondency and gloom. Such was his sublime and holy faith, and it was an anchor to his soul, both sure and steadfast. It made him firm and strong. It emboldened him in the pathway of duty, however rugged and perilous it might be. It made him valiant for the right; for the cause of God and humanity, and it held him in a steady, patient, and unswerving adherence to a policy of administration which he thought, and which we all now think, both God and humanity required him to adopt. We admired and loved him on many accounts--for strong and various reasons: we admired his dauntless courage; his staunch and sterling integrity, his kind and forgiving temper, his industry and patience,--all these things commanded and fixed our admiration and the admiration of the world, and stamped upon his character and life the unmistakable impress of greatness. But more sublime than any or all of these, more holy and influential, more beautiful, and strong, and sustaining, was his abiding confidence in God and in the final triumph of truth and righteousness through Him and for His sake. This was his noblest virtue, his grandest principle, the secret alike of his strength, his patience, and his success. And this, it seems to me, after being near him steadily, and with him often, for more than seven years, is the principle by which, more than by any other, “he, being dead, yet speaketh.” Yes; by his steady enduring confidence in God, and in the complete ultimate success of the cause of God, which is the cause of humanity, more than by any other way, does he now speak to us and to the nation he loved and served so well. By this he speaks to his successor in office, and charges him to “have faith in God.” By this he speaks to the members of his cabinet, the men with whom he counselled so often and was associated so long, and he charges them to “have faith in God.” By this he speaks to the officers and men of our noble army and navy, and, as they stand at their posts of duty and peril, he charges them to “have faith in God.” By this he speaks to all who occupy positions of influence and authority in these sad and troublous times, and he charges them all to “have faith in God.” By this he speaks to this great people as they sit in sackcloth to-day, and weep for him with a bitter wailing, and refuse to be comforted, and he charges them to “have faith in God.” And by this he will speak through the ages and to all rulers and peoples in every land, and his message to them will be, ";Cling to Him who has created and sustained us, battle for Him; bleed for Him; die for Him, if need be; and have confidence in God."; O that the voice of this testimony may sink down into our hearts to-day and every day, and into the heart of the nation, and exert its appropriate influence upon our feelings, our faith, our patience, and our devotion to the cause of freedom and humanity--a cause dearer to us now than ever before, because consecrated by the blood of its most conspicuous defender, its wisest and most fondly-trusted friend.

“He is dead; but the God in whom he trusted lives, and He can guide and strengthen his successor, as He guided and strengthened him. He is dead; but the memory of his virtues, of his wise and patriotic counsels and labors, of his calm and steady faith in God lives, is precious, and will be a power for good in the country quite down to the end of time. He is dead; but the cause he so ardently loved, so ably, patiently, faithfully represented and defended--not for himself only, not for us only, but for all people in all their coming generations, till time shall be no more--that cause survives his fall, and will survive it. The light of its brightening prospects flashes cheeringly to-day athwart the gloom occasioned by his death, and the language of God's united providences is telling us that, though the friends of the Union die, the Union itself is immortal. There is no assassin strong enough and no weapon deadly enough to quench its inextinguishable life, or arrest its onward march to the conquest and empire of the world. This is our confidence, and this is our consolation, as we weep and mourn to-day. Though our beloved President is slain, our beloved country is saved. And so we sing of mercy as well as of judgment. Tears of gratitude mingle with those of sorrow. While there is darkness, there is also the dawning of a brighter, happier day upon our stricken and weary land. God be praised that our fallen Chief lived long enough to see the day dawn and the daystar arise upon the nation. He saw it, and he was glad. Alas! alas! He only saw the dawn. When the sun has risen, full-orbed and glorious, and a happy people are rejoicing in its light--alas! alas! it will shine upon his grave. But that grave will be a precious and a consecrated spot. The friends of the Union will repair to it in years and ages to come, to pronounce the memory of its occupant blessed, and, gathering from his very ashes, and from the rehearsal of his deeds and virtues, fresh incentives to patriotism, they will there renew their vows of fidelity to their country and their God.

And now I know not that I can more appropriately conclude this discourse, which is but a sincere and simple utterance of the heart, than by addressing to our departed President, with some slight modification, the language which Tacitus, in his life of Agricola, addresses to his venerable and departed father-in-law: “With you we may now congratulate; you are blessed, not only because your life was a career of glory, but because you were released, when, your country safe, it was happiness to die. We have lost a parent, and, in our distress, it is now an addition to our heartfelt sorrow that we had it not in our power to commune with you on the bed of languishing, and receive your last embrace. Your dying words would have been ever dear to us; your commands we should have treasured up, and graved them on our hearts. This sad comfort we have lost, and the wound for that reason, pierces deeper. From the world of spirits behold your desolate family and people; exalt our minds from fond regret and unavailing grief to contemplation of your virtues. Those we must not lament; it were impiety to sully them with a tear. To cherish their memory, to embalm them with our praises, and, so far as we can, to emulate your bright example, will be the truest mark of our respect, the best tribute we can offer. Your wife will thus preserve the memory of the best of husbands, and thus your children will prove their filial piety. By dwelling constantly on your words and actions, they will have an illustrious character before their eyes, and, not content with the bare image of your mortal frame, they will have what is more valuable-- the form and features of your mind. Busts and statues, like their originals, are frail and perishable. The soul is formed of finer elements, and its inward form is not to be expressed by the hand of an artist with unconscious matter--our manners and our morals may in some degree trace the resemblance. All of you that gained our love and raised our admiration still subsists, and will ever subsist, preserved in the minds of men, the register of ages, and the records of fame. Others, who had figured on the stage of life and were the worthies of a former day, will sink, for want of a faithful historian, into the common lot of oblivion, inglorious and unremembered; but you, our lamented friend and head, delineated with truth, and fairly consigned to posterity, will survive yourself, and triumph over the injuries of time.";


17 March 1863,

New White House

Columbia, F.D.

United States of America

One day before! A fortnight had passed, yet President Abraham Myers could still scarcely believe what had happened. The greatest President the United States had ever seen since Washington, and perhaps even greater than the founding President, who had brought the United States from a position of weakness before the world to one which could stand proud before any nation, had been struck down in nearly the very hour of his triumph. He had set the nation back on the path of its manifest destiny which it had been denied for so many years, then he had been struck down before he could see it bear fruit. He had not even been permitted to see the departure from office of his great rival, Abraham Lincoln – Davis had been murdered on the day before Lincoln stepped down from office, his single term over. Myers had heard a rumour that Lincoln had travelled to Baton Rogue to witness Davis’s funeral, but it scarcely mattered. Not before a nation in mourning. A nation which was crying out for vengeance, to strike back at the cowardly murderers, and a nation which would be crying out further with every stop on Davis’s funeral train.

His secretary knocked at the door and then let himself in. Myers raised an eyebrow; he had not expected to be disturbed.

“Mr President, Colonel Pinckney has requested to see you most urgently.”

Myers nodded and signalled for Pinckney to be let in.

Colonel Pinckney, head of the National Guard within the Federal District of Columbia, strode grimly into the office. Myers knew the news would be troublesome before Pinckney opened his mouth.

Sure enough, the soldier said, “Mr President, we have apprehended the second of the fugitives from the group that shot President Davis. Our policy of sealing the Federal District kept them in hiding.”

“Who is this assassin?” Myers said.

“A Mexican Indian,” Pinckney said, contempt dripping from his voice.


“His story confirms that of the first one we apprehended. He was acting under the orders of Ignacio Salanueva, from Mexico City.”

Myers sucked in a breath. One of the fugitives claiming that, in isolation... maybe that mongrel papist greaser had confessed in a bid to save his own swarthy skin. Myers had not been prepared to act on one claimant alone. But a second... Half to himself, Myers said, “Salaneuva is a close confidant of Benito Juarez.” Actually, he doubted that the Mexican President had had any knowledge of this villainous deed. But if he could not control his own people, he deserved to reap the whirlwind as much as Mexico did. “Wring a full public confession from him, then bring him before a military court with all possible speed, then hang him.” With martial law declared after the assassination of President Davis, Myers had no inclination in wasting time with a civilian trial.

Pinckney nodded. “And should we begin calling up the National Guard for... possible deployment [2]?”

“See to finding the rest of the fugitives, Colonel, and let me see to the United States,” Myers said.

Pinckney saluted, then stalked out.

Myers paid little notice; he was lost in thought about how best to deploy the army and navy. And what concern he should give to the reaction of other nations.


2 April 1863

Washington Square,

Columbia, F.D.

United States of America

President Myers kept to the back of the crowd that had gathered to watch the hanging of the self-confessed assassin. He wanted to see this man dead, but he had no desire to play a part in the execution. Let the people watch, and decide for themselves. Myers already knew what course he wanted to take.

Before the rope was placed around the assassin’s neck, Myers noted that the new British minister to the United States, Lord Lyons [3], was also watching the execution. With a distinctly grimmer face than Myers would have expected.

Myers watched the execution in silence, then signalled to his escort of Guardsmen – a new development, and one which he cordially detested despite knowing the need for it – to lead him back to the New White House. Lord Lyons gestured at him, and Myers dispatched one of the Guardsmen with an invitation for Lyons to attend the New White House as soon as possible.

A few minutes later, after the usual round of polite introductions, Myers said, “What business do you bring to discuss today, of all days?”

“The business you would expect; the appropriate response to the death of your much-lamented predecessor.”

“There can only be one response to such an action,” Myers said.

“That may be less than advisable,” Lyons said. “Surely an indemnity or—”

“Expect money from a country which has already defaulted on its debts to France? And indeed, to your own nation.” Myers shook his head. “You would stand before the United States and tell me that I must do nothing? If your king had been murdered by a French assassin, do you think that an hour would pass before your navy set out to bombard Calais? So do not tell me what I must and must not do to ensure that the United States can secure its own safety. I could be the next target of Mexican assassins.”

Lyons said, “If there will be war... it must not lead to the conquest of Mexico.”

“Nor shall it. Not all of it. Do you think that I want to try to rule six or seven million Mexicans?”

“The United States has done similar things elsewhere,” Lyons said quietly.

Myers waved a hand. “We were invited into Cuba and Nicaragua and Puerto Rico.” He carefully did not mention Honduras, which was another matter. “This would be quite different. No, we shall put the fear of God into these Mexicans, and they will know never to do something so perfidious again. But there will still be a Mexico afterwards.”

Lyons still looked unhappy, but he nodded.

For Myers, that was enough.


Text of the United States’ declaration of war on Mexico on 14 April 1863

From the Library of Congress, Columbia City

An Act declaring war between the Republic of Mexico and the United States of America and their territories.

Be it enacted by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that war be and the same is hereby declared to exist between the Republic of Mexico, and the United States of America and their territories; and that the President of the United States is hereby authorized to use the whole land and naval force of the United States to carry the same into effect, and to issue to private armed vessels of the United States commissions or letters of marque and general reprisal, in such form as he shall think proper, and under the seal of the United States, against the vessels, goods, and effects of the government of the said Republic of Mexico, and the citizens thereof.


[1] Any similarities to the funeral speech of the OTL 16th President are purely intentional.

[2] Having taken over from the old militia system, the National Guard acts as both local anti-slavery patrol and military reserves. They are the first units called up when the regular armed forces are deemed to be insufficient, before any calls are placed for volunteers.

[3] A post-POD character, although with the same name as the OTL Lord Lyons, and with similar political connections through his father which got him into the diplomatic service and to North America.


Decades of Darkness #61: Jaws of the Jackal

From “The Journal of Los Angeles History, Summer 1952, Volume 14, Number 3”.

Book Reviews

So Far From God: The History of the Mexican Wars. By Richard S. D. Davis. Jefferson Davis University Press, 1950. Illustrations, maps, bibliography, index, xxvi plus 974 pages.

Reviewed by Diego A. Hodges, lecturer in the History Department, Los Angeles University and historian of colonial and republican Central America, is currently writing a book reviewing labour market trends in eighteenth-century colonial Mexico. A graduate of the United States Naval Academy, Mobile, he is retired from the U.S. Navy.

Richard S. D. Davis’s narrative history of the Mexican Wars first appeared in 1942, published by Conrad Publishing Company, and is now released by Jefferson Davis University Press. So Far From God is a bold production of a historical work intended to cover the history of these wars from the point of view of the soldiers who fought in them.

The book is well-laid out and illustrated, and nowhere on the cover does it mention Richard Davis’s descent from both of the Presidents Davis. It is engaging and eye-catching. The title of the book is a reference to the famous quote from Manuel Diaz, last president of Mexico, which reads in full: “Poor Mexico: so far from God and so near to the United States” [1]. In his history, Davis makes little mention of the ongoing political crises and mismanagement which characterised Mexico during the republican period, but that is understandable in a work which focuses on the wars themselves, and not the underlying causes or historical trends which produced those wars.

In a work of the scale of So Far From God, many details must necessarily be omitted, and Davis chooses to include only short introductory pieces describing the build-up to each war, and most of the narrative focuses on the wars themselves. These introductory segments are brief, and a general reader would be unlikely to gain much insight into the political climate which led up to each war, such as Santa Anna’s vainglory, or the state-sponsored assassination, or the financial mismanagement and debt crises. The sections covering the political settlements of each war are likewise brief, and readers will have to seek elsewhere to understand, say, the concern for foreign intervention which mandated the United States’ relatively limited acquisitions after the second war.

Lest this be taken as criticism, Davis shows an aptitude for delivering a sense of place and an appreciation of the difficulties facing the soldiers during these wars. He also succeeds in covering the long period of time he has sought to cover. So Far From God is an enthralling view of life through the experience of the soldiers. Manoeuvres are described, including anecdotes from primary sources, but Davis also includes descriptions and reports from the battlefield commanders. The result is a detailed picture of the hardships endured by the soldiers of both sides, particularly the American soldiers who distinguished themselves by their service in an unfamiliar country and, for the first two wars, against a backdrop of vicious tropical disease. The depictions of the deaths of both General Taylor and General Lee to such diseases are particularly touching.

In So Far From God, Richard S. D. Davis presents a narrative that will entertain the general public and military aficionados, while still contributing to the corpus of historical knowledge of this period in American history. The criticisms stated here should not be taken as diminishing Davis’s contribution to history, only to mention the things the book is not.


Excerpts from “The Historical Detective: The Assassination of President Jefferson Davis”

By ‘Reginald Kincaid’ [2]

(c) 1948 Horizon Publishing Company

Stirling [Perth, Western Australia], Kingdom of Australia


The truth behind the assassination of President Davis may thus, alas, never be settled entirely. No matter how carefully historians may sift and weigh the evidence, there is always room for doubt in such a case, particularly in such a delicate matter as this. As my review highlights, conspiracy theorists have named just about every major figure of the U.S. government, most of those in New England, a fair cross-section of Mexican and Canadian ones, and even those from such unlikely places as Britain or Russia. Many have let their judgement be clouded by the result of the ensuing Second Mexican War where Mexico was forced to stand alone against the United States without any foreign intervention.

Nonetheless, in this case at least, I believe that the United States is blameless in regard to the assassination itself. The USA has committed many despicable acts throughout its history; there is no need to pin invented vileness on them. The most likely source for the assassination is precisely the person the USA named: Ignacio Salanueva, acting out of hostility to the attempted filibuster of Veracruz and a belief that Jefferson Davis would continue to take chunks out of Mexico for as long as he lived. As events turned out, his deed only gave the United States fresh excuse to raid Mexico, but that was not his intention.

As to whether others were involved, perhaps some senior figures of the Mexican government had knowledge of the plot, but I do not believe President Benito Juarez had any part in the assassination. He would not have dared to take the risk. Sadly, this did not save him, as the victorious American forces made his handover a condition of the peace treaty, and Juarez the innocent was hung alongside Salanueva the guilty in front of Davis’s final resting place in West Florida...


4 March 1865,

Columbia City, Federal District

United States of America

“I do solemnly affirm that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,” Abraham Myers said, repeating the words of Chief Justice Judah Benjamin, before he dropped his right arm from his side. He had chosen not to hold a Bible; perhaps a provocative choice, but the crowd did nothing to complain. Truly, the United States was the land of opportunity, to have two men of Jewish birth fill its two most senior offices. Where else in the world had that happened in any nation since the fall of Jerusalem? [3]

The election result had been close, sure enough, and the slurs against him for his faith all too vicious, yet he had carried the election. He doubted he would seek another term; the memory of the United States’ recent victory over Mexico had probably been the one thing which had gained Myers his re-election. The memory of that would have faded in the next four years, and Myers did not expect that there would be any more dramatic military victories during his next term in office. No, this would be a time for consolidation. The United States had made some dramatic gains in recent years, including some lands which would be difficult to rule; slave revolt already simmered in Cuba, and there would surely be problems in the new Mexican acquisitions with people who did not accept U.S. rule or their new social status. Myers had no plans to prevent further filibusters by American citizens in Central America, but he expected he would not grant formal annexation of any territories acquired either, unless he was certain of a non-military response from Europe. He would oppose most strongly any further action against already-weakened Mexico.

Myers stood up to the podium to deliver his inaugural address. Most of it was what people expected, but he expected people to be surprised when he named the establishment of Jefferson Davis University in Puerto Veracruz, a place to commemorate the death of America’s greatest President in the city which the Mexican murderers had named as their cause for slaying him.


Excerpts from the Treaty of Veracruz

Originally published in “Ashes From Ashes: A History of the Second Mexican War”

(c) 1946 by Annabel Richards

Cline Publishing Company

Habana, West Cuba: United States of America

Article 4

The Republic of Mexico cedes to the United States territory comprising the former states of Sinaloa, Durango, Zacatecas, San Luis Potosi, Veracruz and Tobasco [4]. All citizens of these territories who remain within the borders of these states shall be subject to all the laws of the United States.

Article 5

The United States shall grant the Republic of Mexico rights to trans-ship goods through the port of Veracruz, including building railroads and other such improvements which shall facilitate such transportation. The cost of transporting such goods shall not include any tariffs or other levies in excess of what would be charged to other goods being transported elsewhere in the United States.


[1] This is of course a person who is similar in many respects to Porfirio Diaz, although not quite the same person. However, he did have the same sense of the history of Mexico as his OTL counterpart.

[2] The pseudonym of an Australian author who has published books on a wide variety of topics, including many at or beyond the fringes of contemporary scholarship.

[3] Except, perhaps, for the Khazars.

[4] Yes, this means that Mexico has no Caribbean coastline. The transit rights through Veracruz form their only outlet.


Decades of Darkness #62: Filling In The Blanks

Popular and Electoral Votes for President in 1862

From “1810-1910: A Century of New England Political History”

(c) 1912 by William H. Baldwin

Sandler Publishing Company, Long Island

The 1862 presidential elections, like those of 1858, were contested against the backdrop of a theoretical war with Russia, but also with the more looming background of Europe in chaos and the United States growing ever stronger. The elections formed in large measure a comment on the policies of the previous incumbent. There were distinctly mixed opinions of Lincoln, who had won popularity for some of his actions, particularly bringing New Brunswick into New England, but also some views against him for his involvement in Liberia and Santo Domingo, and more generally for how far the United States had expanded during his administration. As the increasingly popular Connecticut Representative Phineas Barnum [1] remarked, “The islands of the Caribbean are lined up like dominoes, and they fall one by one.”

The Radicals found themselves in a bitter deadlock between the current Vice-President Hannibal Hamlin of Maine, and the strident abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens of Vermont, whose continual anti-slavery rhetoric resounded well with a party concerned over the growth of slavery into the Caribbean and Central America. Eventually, they settled on Hamlin as their presidential candidate, with Stevens accepting the vice-presidential nomination. The Federalists were similarly divided in that their most prominent speaker, Horatio Seymour of New York, was not eligible to serve this term, and had to settle for the vice-presidency. Eventually, they selected the noted poet and lately-turned-politician Henry Longfellow of Maine, in a bid to win that state back from the Radicals, relegating would-be candidate Senator Emory Washburn of Massachusetts, who was tainted by his failure against Lincoln. The Republicans had learned from the defeat of the near-nonentity Milliard Fillmore, and chose the more dynamic Daniel Haines of New Jersey as their presidential candidate, with the noted William Seward of New York as vice-presidential candidate to counter Seymour’s electoral appeal.

The campaigning was much more sedate than in the previous election, with few of the personal attacks, but with Longfellow demanding a return to traditional values and building a stronger economy, while Hamlin advocated further political reform, and the Republicans advocated building an independent political power apart from Canada and Great Britain, with commercial links to the United States. The mood throughout the campaign highlighted the regional differences between the parties, and it became apparent that the three-party system would continue in New England for some time yet...

Popular Votes Electoral Votes

State Lon. Hai. Ham. Lon. Hai. Ham.

Connecticut 24,682 11,804 17,170 9 0 0

Maine 39,687 8,451 36,302 12 0 0

Massachusetts 89,147 32,401 13,523 21 0 0

Long Island 37,471 68,425 57,021 0 15 0

New Hampshire 15,420 13,551 17,756 0 0 7

New Jersey 17,796 53,389 33,499 0 12 0

New York 162,530 193,004 152,372 0 43 0

Rhode Island 15,232 3,427 19,421 0 0 5

Vermont 14,138 14,594 16,874 0 0 7

Michigan 30,794 36,393 72,786 0 0 18

Nova Scotia 29,521 9,671 11,706 8 0 0

Total 476,418 445,111 448,431 50 70 37

With the 1862 presidential election now referred to Congress, this meant that three of the last four elections had needed to be decided this way. What had been seen as a source of controversy had by now become grudgingly accepted as part of the political landscape. While there would be some calls for reform of the electoral system, including for the abolition of the electoral college, these calls were not yet particularly loud. This was despite the unusual situation where Haines received the smallest number of popular votes, but the largest number of electoral votes and, after some bargaining in the House of Representatives, the election...


The Presidential Elections of 1864

From “The Atlas of American Political History”

(c) 1946 By Karl Wundt

Lone Pine Publishing Company

Hammersford [Salem, Oregon], Oregon State

United States of America


The 1864 elections saw the political debate return to only two main parties, as the brief interlude of the Freedom Party ended. The Democratic nomination became a highly contested debate, centering on whether a Jew could be chosen as an electoral candidate. In the end, Myers won was re-nominated, largely through the advantage of incumbency and the success of the Second Mexican War, and he took the precaution of choosing Joseph Holt, who had conducted the trials of the assassins of Presidents Mangum and Davis, as his vice-presidential candidate. The Patriots chose as their presidential candidate William Travis, hero of two wars with Mexico, whose recent campaign to capture Sinaloa won him considerable popularity. Governor James Robinson of Ohio [2] was chosen as their vice-presidential candidate.

Popular Votes Electoral Votes

State Travis Myers Travis Myers

Alabama 20,028 28,821 0 13

Arkansas 7,466 13,866 0 6

Coahuila 8,164 8,844 0 5

Delaware 7,736 3,476 3 0

E. Florida 3,379 5,514 0 3

E. Texas 20,872 15,745 8 0

Georgia 26,410 58,784 0 20

Illinois 50,499 39,678 16 0

Indiana 47,975 39,252 15 0

Iowa 29,544 19,696 9 0

Jackson 1,939 5,519 0 3

Jefferson 17,261 19,464 0 8

Kentucky 50,509 72,684 0 23

Louisiana 18,796 19,576 0 10

Maryland 36,818 27,775 13 0

Mississippi 12,801 23,773 0 10

Missouri 34,708 34,328 14 0

N. California 7,028 2,871 3 0

N. Carolina 40,582 47,640 0 19

Ohio 165,685 130,181 47 0

Pennsylvania 157,376 96,456 41 0

S. Carolina 14,860 36,381 0 14

Tennessee 51,185 73,657 0 24

Virginia 66,609 75,112 0 30

Washington 18,238 28,527 0 10

W. Florida 13,767 35,400 0 13

W. Texas 4,079 3,765 3 0

Westylvania 69,238 46,159 19 0

Wilkinson 18,944 13,718 7 0

Tamaulipas 5,851 8,776 0 3

Kansas 21,108 19,484 3 0

Total 1,049,457 1,054,921 201 214


Selected Important Dates in North American History: 1851-1865

Taken from “The Compleat Textbook Series: Early American History”

By J. Edward Fowler (Principal Author)

Sydney, Kingdom of Australia.

(c) 1948 Eagle Publishing Company: Sydney. Used with permission


Robert C. Winthrop (Massachusetts), Federalist, inaugurated as 11th President of New England. Milliard Fillmore (New York), Republican, inaugurated as Vice-President.

Yucatan Protectorate established.


Treaty of Zitacuaro ends First Mexican War, with massive cession of land from Mexico to the United States.

Lewis Cass (Ohio), Patriot, is re-elected as 10th President of the United States. Samuel Houston (East Texas), Patriot, is elected as Vice-President.


Fourth Amendment to the New England Constitution takes effect, ending the ‘natural born’ restrictions on federal office.


Franklin Pierce (New Hampshire), Republican, inaugurated as 12th President of New England. Milliard Fillmore (New York), Republican, re-inaugurated as Vice-President.

“Corona”, the first of a new class of iron-plated steam and sail ships, laid down in New York.


Jefferson Davis (West Florida), Democrat, elected as 11th President of the United States.

Michigan and Nova Scotia admitted as the 10th and 11th states, respectively, of New England.

“La Gloire”, the first of the French ironclad steam and sail ships, laid down in Toulon, reportedly in response to the New England design.


U.S. filibusters enter Cuba on a massive scale, and set up a new government with the support of local landowners.

Constitutional amendment proposed in New England, to extend the term of the president from four to six years. The amendment is ratified by Long Island and New Jersey in that year.

“Black Prince”, a new British design of ironclad vessel, laid down in London [3]. In the same year, the “Delaware”, an American-designed ironclad, is laid down in Baltimore.


Wilkinson [most of Minnesota west of the Mississippi] admitted as the 26th state in the Union.

British, Canadian and New England forces occupy Alaska as part of their anti-Russian operations during the Turkish War.

United States annexes Cuba.

Mark Lansdowne organises a filibuster expedition into Nicaragua after being invited in.

New York Legislature ratifies the proposed constitutional amendment extending the presidential term to six years.


Abraham Lincoln (New York), Radical, inaugurated as 13th President of New England. Hannibal Hamlin (Maine), Radical, inaugurated as Vice-President.

Coahuila [southwestern Texas and northern Coahuila, Mexico] admitted as the 27th state in the Union.

West Texas [northwestern Texas] admitted as the 28th state in the Union.

U.S. President Davis proclaims the Caste Wars in the Yucatan over, and recalls the ‘Jaguars’. However, ongoing civil strife continues in the remoter parts of the Yucatan (mainly the eastern and southeastern portions) for several more years.

Mark Lansdowne is proclaimed President of Nicaragua. After some local discontent and a threatened invasion from Honduras, he requests U.S. annexation, which is granted.

Michigan and Vermont Legislatures ratify the proposed constitutional amendment extending the presidential term to six years.


Jefferson Davis (West Florida), Democrat, re-elected as 11th President of the United States. Abraham Myers (South Carolina), Democrat, elected as Vice-President.

North California [northern California] admitted as the 29th state in the Union.

New England proclaims a protectorate over Santo Domingo. The United States refuses to recognise this protectorate.

Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Nova Scotia Legislatures ratify the proposed constitutional amendment extending the presidential term to six years. The Legislatures of Massachusetts, Maine and Connecticut have rejected the amendment, leaving it unratifiable until one of those state legislatures changes their vote.


Plebiscite held in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island to remain under British rule or join New England. New Brunswick narrowly votes in favour of joining New England; Prince Edward Island rejects.

U.S. filibusters invade Puerto Rico and are welcomed by the local landowners (although not the rest of the citizens).

A proposal to separate those counties of New York east of the Hudson River into a new state of ‘Hudson’ is gazetted by Senator Horatio Seymour of New York.

‘Third Exodus’ begins from Salt Lake City to Vancouver Island, Kingdom of Canada, with many of the Nephites believing they need to leave the United States.


New Brunswick formally added to New England as New Brunwsick Territory.

Proposal to split New York State is rejected by the combined Radicals and Republicans in the New England Congress.

Tamaulipas [Tamaulipas State, Mexico, plus the district around Tampico, Veracruz State] admitted as the 30th state in the Union.

Kansas [similar to Kansas, but with some different boundaries in the north and west] admitted as the 31st state in the Union.

Puerto Rico is annexed to the United States.

Mark Lansdowne attempts a filibuster to gain control of Veracruz, Mexico, and is defeated. He narrowly escapes to U.S. soil.

U.S. filibusters support General José María Medina to return to Honduras and regain the Presidency.


U.S. military advisers dispatched to Honduras to support the government of President Medina.

U.S. President Jefferson Davis assassinated (2 March). Abraham Myers becomes 12th President of the United States.

Daniel Haines (New Jersey), Republican, inaugurated as 14th President of New England. William Seward (New York), Republican, inaugurated as Vice-President.

United States declares war on Mexico over assassination of President Davis. U.S. Marines occupy Veracruz in June in preparation for a march on Mexico City. Simultaneous invasions into Sinaloa and Hidalgo.


Abraham Myers (South Carolina), Democrat, re-elected as 12th President of the United States. Joseph Holt (Kentucky), Democrat, elected as Vice-President.

Treaty of Veracruz ends Second Mexican War. Mexico cedes its provinces of Sinaloa, Durango, Zacatecas, San Luis Potosi, Veracruz and Tobasco to the United States.

Sonora and Chihuahua Territories both fail of admission as states, due to concerns about the ‘proper racial balance’ within those territories. The population of these territories continues to expand through migration for mining, but the Apaches remain an unsubdued threat.

The former Russian province of Alaska is ceded to the Kingdom of Canada as part of the settlement of the Second Congress of Vienna in Europe.


Patriot-dominated U.S. Congress approves a major reorganisation of the territories of the United States. New Mexico Territory is divided into New Mexico Territory [New Mexico + Arizona], Colorado Territory [more or less Colorado], Deseret Territory [Utah], and Nevada Territory [Nevada]. Oregon Territory is partitioned into Oregon Territory [Oregon State, more or less] and Idaho Territory [Idaho below the 46th parallel, and those parts of Montana west of the Idaho-Wyoming Border]. Nebraska Territory is partitioned into Nebraska Territory [Nebraska + South Dakota, up to the 46th parallel] and Wyoming Territory [Wyoming + the rest of Montana up to the 46th parallel]. South California Territory [Baja California], Sonora Territory [Sonora + Sinaloa to the 25th parallel], Chihuahua Territory [Chihuahua to the 25th parallel], North Durango Territory [Durango north of the 25th parallel] and New Leon Territory [those parts of Neuvo Leon north of the 25th parallel, plus those parts of Zacatecas and San Luis Potosi north of that line, and those parts of Coahuila which did not become part of the ATL U.S. state of Coahuila] are confirmed in their present boundaries, despite the suggestions that parts of them should be combined with the new Mexican acquisitions. The new territories of Sinaloa [Sinaloa south of the 25th parallel], South Durango [the rest of Durango], Zacatecas [Zacatecas below the 25th parallel] and Potosi [San Luis Potosi + Nuevo Leon below the 25th parallel], Veracruz [Veracruz, except around Tampico], and Tobasco are organised. Cuba Territory is partitioned into West Cuba Territory [all of OTL Cuba west of the old administrative district of Camaguey (roughly the 79th meridian west)] and East Cuba Territory [the rest of Cuba]. The Caribbean Territory is reorganised to include Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands [only the U.S. Virgin Islands] and Guadeloupe and neighbouring islands. Nicaragua Territory is not affected by the reorganisation.

The United States accepts a request from the Yucatan Protectorate for formal annexation, and the Yucatan Territory is organised [4].

New Brunwsick admitted as the 12th state of New England. One of its first acts is to ratify the proposed amendment extending the presidential term to six years, although this amendment excludes the present incumbent.

Armed revolts increase in scale in East Cuba; U.S. President Myers accuses Haiti of shipping arms to the country. Increased U.S. military deployment to the Territory, including the ‘Jaguars’. The soldiers are innoculated with the new yellow fever vaccine before deployment.

Proposal to divide New York State is approved by the combined Federalists and Radicals (with some Republicans) in the New England Congress. The new states of Hudson [eastern New York State, capital at Albany] and Niagara [western New York State, with the border at the OTL counties of Cayuga, Onondaga, Cortland and western Broome (the Cortland-Chenango border extended due south), capital at Geneva] will be formed the following year.


[1] Barnum returned to political office for the 1860 Congressional elections, representing the Republican Party.

[2] A post-POD character, who is vigorous in his application of Matthist ideology and the “struggle between the races”.

[3] The design of the “Black Prince” is roughly equivalent to the “Warrior” of OTL.

[4] How genuine this request was is debateable, although the ladino inhabitants of the Yucatan do much prefer U.S. backing to Maya raids.


Decades of Darkness #63: How Many Holes Has A Swiss Cheese?

Excerpts from “Misfits of History”

(c) 1947 by Emily Vasquez

Cline Publishing Company

Habana, West Cuba: United States of America

Chapter 3. Switzerland: The Fall of the Alpine Kingdom

Like Poland, Switzerland was a nation which had a long history but which did not survive the gradual unification of Europe which began in the eighteenth century and which was to continue into the twentieth...

The history of Switzerland is usually traced to the compact of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden in 1291 - the birth of a Swiss Confederation which grew over the centuries. The Swiss people earned a fearsome reputation as warriors, and partly as a result, received internationally-guaranteed neutrality in the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, which was to continue for over a century. However, the Swiss neutrality came to an end during the French Revolutionary Wars, which swept over Switzerland and led to the downfall of the Swiss Confederation.

Although the short-lived Helvetic Republic which replaced the Confederation itself did not even survive until the fall of Napoleon I, the fatal blow had been dealt with the end of Swiss neutrality. While Switzerland was to outlast Poland, and indeed gained additional territory after the First Congress of Vienna, it had been cast into the status of a misfit of history nonetheless. The discussions during that Congress saw Switzerland being regarded as a target for negotiation, not as an independent and neutral power. It was this decision, more than anything else, which proved fatal to Switzerland’s survival [1]. The already strong anti-republican sentiments of the Congress of Vienna had been enhanced by the British experience in the New World, and thus all of the Great Powers agreed that Switzerland should become a monarchy. The chosen monarch was the former King of Saxony, and he was established as King of Switzerland, although with terms which preserved considerable autonomy for the cantons. Yet no matter how favourable the terms, the establishment of a monarchy now meant that the other European powers had both an interest and a convenient pretext for intervention in Swiss affairs.

This was confirmed in 1835, when the Swiss demands for reform and greater autonomy for the cantons led to open revolt. Only a few cantons joined at first, but King Anthony Clement I was unable to find many support from local troops. On his death in 1836, virtually all of Switzerland rose in open revolt. Frederick Augustus II was able to claim the throne only with the support of King Louis-Philippe of France, and he was despised as a French puppet. This need not have spelled the end of Switzerland as a nation, but it encouraged division amongst the cantons, which would in time mean the demise of Switzerland as a united nation.

The next blow to Swiss identity came when the winds of revolution blew through Europe in 1849, and Louis-Philippe fled France for the United States. Frederick Augustus II slipped from his throne shortly thereafter, as the Swiss people gladly took advantage of the fall of his protector to drive out his supporters and proclaim a renewed Swiss Confederation. However, the old divisions resurfaced, as there was considerable disagreement about how Switzerland should be ruled, with both liberal and conservative factions, to say nothing of the remaining monarchists [2]. Unable to resolve their own differences, the Swiss were in turn engulfed in their own civil war that was only ended by intervention from the Second French Republic in 1851, which sought to establish Johan I on the throne of Switzerland (his brother Frederick Augustus being too unpopular to restore), as none of the Swiss factions could agree on any other choice [3]. Johan I had a few brief years of peace, but his rule proved less than popular. In 1859, revolution rose again, and this time the German Reich was in a position to intervene in Swiss affairs for the first time...


“The Swiss and Italian Wars: Europe in Crisis 1858-1864”

By Professor Kemal bin Adullah,

Translated by Arthur Coburg,

Constantinople, Russian Federation.

(c) 1976 Imperial Free Press, Constantinople.

Used with permission.

4. The Road to War: Swiss Affairs

The question of the ‘German’ status of Switzerland had been one raised several times since nationalism was unleashed during the French Revolutionary Wars. The first awakening of German nationalism during the German Confederation had little impact on Switzerland, but it was one which was voiced again and again in both Switzerland and the Germanies over the next half-century. Dissatisfaction with the failed revolution of 1836 saw the beginnings of the Swiss people looking to the German powers for support, although initially this was for liberation as an ally, not to join the German Confederation. But the call of German nationalism continued to grow, particularly after the attempted Swiss revolution of 1849-1851. The German powers were too distracted by affairs within the German Confederation and in Hungary to support Switzerland during that period. But German interest in Switzerland had been heightened, and the strengthening tide of nationalism after the establishment of the Reich only added to this call.

Within Switzerland, the unpopularity of King Johan I rose to a crescendo in 1859, with simultaneous revolts in Graubünden, Aargau and Neuchatel. The French Emperor Napoleon III was certainly willing to support King Johan, as France had regarded Switzerland as part of her sphere of influence since the French Revolutionary Wars. On this occasion, however, the German powers were both ready and willing to intervene. Austria was particularly sympathetic to the revolutionaries in Graubünden, and also given the French support of Garibaldi’s actions to unity Italy, prepared to work against France. Prussia was determined to bring the German-speaking portions of Switzerland into the Reich. Only the Netherlands were reluctant to become involved in a war against France. However, by the German Constitution, foreign adventures required the unanimous support of all three Kaisers. The division between the Kaisers was ably exploited by Bismarck [4], the Reichs Chancellor, to extend the influence of Frankfurt in foreign affairs, and precipitate a war. Bismarck arranged for a limited declaration of war, of support for the Swiss revolutionaries, but not against France herself. This meant that it remained in French hands whether to declare war against the German Confederation itself...

5. The Italian Wars: The Rise of Nationalism

The struggle for Italian unification can be traced back to the Napoleonic Wars. Although the nations which Napoleon carved out of the northern Italian peninsula were short-lived puppet states, they inspired a sense of Italian nationalism. After the fall of Napoleon, Italian nationalism faced two great challenges. The first was the disunity of Italy into many small states. The second was the presence of the Austrians in the northern Italian-speaking lands, and other Habsburg monarchs in Tuscany. Both of these challenges would have to be overcome before Italy could achieve unification.

The first major attempt for Italian unification had occurred in the revolutions of 1849-50, and was a failure due to the victories of Austria. In those revolutions, the only Italian general to achieve any notable victories was General Garibaldi, who was however driven from the peninsula in the aftermath, and lived in exile in the United States and New England for a time before he returned in 1857, when the time seemed ripe. From here, Garibaldi was to prove himself one of the most audacious and successful generals of all time. Garibaldi staged a dramatic occupation of the island of Sicily in 1857, and then of Naples in 1858-9. He delivered these conquests to his backer, Victor Emmanuel II, King of Sardinia-Piedmont, and thus established for the first time one monarch in Italy who could claim to represent the peninsula itself.

To complete his desired unification of Italy, Garibaldi needed three things: to conquer the Papal States, to drive the Austrians out of Lombardy and Venetia, and to unify the minor states of north Italy. This would inevitably bring him into conflict with Austria and, since Lombardy and Venetia were part of the German Confederation, with the other German powers as well...

6. The Outbreak of War

The question of war in Switzerland and Italy awaited the decision of Napoleon III. He had likely not forgotten the defeat of the Confederation War, but then the French Army had instituted considerable reforms since this time. With Prussia and Austria marching into Switzerland, and with his Italian allies eager to strike against Austria, Napoleon III chose war...

9. Conflict and Compromise

After two years of war, of France and Italy against the German Confederation, the result was much less decisive than might have been expected. France had been invaded but not overwhelmed, while the Piedmontese-Italian armies had proven more than a match for the Austrians, which had not had the same benefit of Prussian military training. Switzerland itself, the immediate cause of the war, remained mostly in German hands, but most of the Italian peninsula had fallen to Garibaldi’s armies, except for the carefully-honoured case of Rome, and Venetia and Lombardy where the Deutschleger [5] had supported them.

Several factors now called out for peace. The Netherlands saw no wish for a long war with France. Prussia had achieved what she wanted from the war, effective control of Switzerland, and although they were determined to maintain the integrity of the German Confederation [6], did not wish to become bogged down in attempts to reconquer more of the Italian peninsula. The Austrians were disappointed over the loss of much of Italy, but also wished to intervene in the Balkans, where revolts from Ottoman rule had begun in earnest. On the other side of the war, Italy was still determined to acquire Lombardy, but Napoleon III could see the weight of population beginning to tell against him, and he had no desire for another occupation of Paris, so he opted for negotiation instead.

Napoleon III found a willing negotiator in Frankfurt, where Reichs Chancellor Bismarck was again able to use the divisions between the German Powers both to extend the power of the German Diet and to produce a new peace in Europe. Bismarck demonstrated an uncanny ability to discern the vital interests of each power and how best to resolve them.

He was firstly able to persuade the Holy Roman Emperor to keep Lombardy and Venetia, but to permit his relatives to be unseated from their thrones in Italy in exchange for new crowns to be granted in Switzerland. He was aided in this argument by Franz Josef’s desire to acquire land in the Balkans, with the Ottoman Empire collapsing.

Bismarck was able to negotiate with Napoleon III for a face-saving compromise which saw France acquire some territory in Switzerland and Italy, in exchange for abandoning her support for those two nations. As part of the same arrangement, Italy ceased any action against Lombardy and Venetia, in exchange for recognition of her authority elsewhere in the Italian Peninsula. Bismarck is reported to have said that he now wanted the Italians to waste their efforts in searching for colonies overseas, rather than for more Italian-speakers at home.

Bismarck showed particular diplomatic gifts in negotiating within the German Confederation as well. Austria in particular had been hostile to Britain due to the British shipments of arms to the Italian armies, particularly the deadly New England-made Spencer repeaters [7]. Bismarck expressed the argument that as a prince in the German Confederation [8], the King of Britain had in effect been supporting an enemy of Germany, and that this might need to be resolved. The settlement of this question, along with the precise territorial changes in Europe, awaited the outcome of the Second Congress of Vienna...


Extracts taken from “The Compleat Textbook Series: Modern European History”

By J. Edward Fowler (Principal Author)

Sydney, Kingdom of Australia.

(c) 1948 Eagle Publishing Company: Sydney. Used with permission.

The Second Congress of Vienna (1863-1864)

The Second Congress of Vienna was deliberately held in that city to invoke the mystique surrounding the first Congress, which was credited with having created peace in Europe for more than thirty years after the fall of Napoleon. All the states of Europe were invited, although Spain did not attend as there was still no universally recognised government due to the continuing civil war in that nation. As with the first Congress, however, most of the negotiations took place privately between the Great Powers – Britain, France, Russia, Austria, Prussia, the Netherlands and newly-established Italy – while the lesser monarchs were entertained through lavish banquets and festivities. Importantly, the German Diet also sent its own representative, Reichs Chancellor Bismarck, who was to prove the most successful of the diplomats at the Congress.

The purpose of the Second Congress was to attempt to restore order in Europe, which had been badly shaken since 1849. There was a general desire for a stable peace, if only because some of the Powers had been exhausted through war (principally Russia). The primary question was how to divide up the former nations of the Ottoman Empire and Switzerland, and also to grant formal recognition to Italy as a Great Power.

The main outcomes of the Second Congress were as follows:


- received the Bulgarian provinces as part of Russia

- was forced to recognise the neutrality of the Straits of Constantinople

- gained parts of Asia Minor to the port of Trebizond from the former Ottoman Empire


- established as an independent nation under a Russian prince


- confirmed as an independent nation comprising the former kingdoms of Sardinia, and Sicily, most of the Papal States (except Rome), and the minor northern Italian states

- conceded Nice and Savoy to France

- granted Albania as a colony [9]


- conceded the loss of Tuscany to Italy

- acquired the province of Sarajevo from the former Ottoman Empire, and recognised the sovereignty of Montenegro

- acquired the former Swiss canton of Graubünden


- acquired Macedonia [the OTL Greek province of Macedonia, not the nation]

- acquired Rhodes and other Aegean islands


- established as a sultanate [there is still a Sultan, but he is considered the Sultan of Turkey rather than the Ottoman Emperor] under the protection of Britain [this includes most of OTL Turkey, plus a strip of the north Aegean coast, and most of Mesopotamia]. Turkey maintained its claims to suzerainty of Arabia, a claim which was largely ignored both by the inhabitants and by the Great Powers.


- the rulership of Hanover transferred to Henry, cousin of King Edward VII of Britain, separating the Electorate from its personal union with Great Britain.

- Bern, Luzern-Unterwaldern, Wallis-Tessin and Zurich joined as member states. The German Confederation now included 44 states.


- acquired Nice and Savoy from Italy

- acquired Syria [including OTL Lebanon] as a colony


- established a protectorate over Turkey

- acquired Palestine as a colony

- established Egypt as a protectorate

- established Cyprus as a colony

SWITZERLAND was partitioned:

- a remnant Helvetian Republic was established out of the former cantons of Vaud, Neuchatel, Geneva and the western two-thirds of Fribourg

- the Duchy of Wallis-Tessin was established out of the former cantons of Valais, Ticino and Uri [10] as a member state of the German Confederation

- Austria acquired Graubünden

- the Duchy of Bern was established out of the former canton of Bern and the eastern third of Fibourg, as a member state of the German Confederation

- the Duchy of Aargau was established out of the former cantons of Basel-Stadt, Basel-Landschaft, Solothurn and Aargau, and the Jura District from Bern, as a member state of the German Confederation

- the Duchy of Luzern-Unterwalden was established out of the former cantons of Lucerne, Obwalden, and Nidwalden, as a member state of the German Confederation

- the Grand Duchy of Zurich was established out of the former cantons of Zurich, Schwyz, Zug, St Gallen, Thurgau, Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Appenzell Innerrhoden, Glarus and Schaffhausen, as a member state of the German Confederation.

At the closure of the Second Congress, the Powers issued a joint statement calling for peace in Europe, that the continent should never again see the same spectrum of wars and rebellions that had trouble it for the last fifteen years. Importantly, the Second Congress of Vienna did not address what would happen to the former Ottoman dependencies in the Arabian Peninsula. These were to become fodder for the colonial expansions which followed. The Second Congress of Vienna is also considered as a key step in the rise of parliamentary authority in Germany. The Diet already controlled the purse-strings and the economic activity amongst the German states. The disagreements between the Kaisers gave the Diet an opportunity to develop a diplomatic voice as well.


[1] Special thanks go to Good Habit for suggesting the revised history of Switzerland.

[2] The division is similar in some respects to the divisions in the OTL Sonderbundskrieg, but with complications from monarchist factions as well. Some Swiss wanted to keep a monarch with strictly limited powers, using him as a mediating figure between differences in the cantons, while some wanted republics.

[3] Although France was nominally a republic in this period, it was dominated by Napoleon II, who was hardly averse to the idea of restoring a monarch.

[4] Being born a few years after the POD, this Bismarck is not quite OTL Bismarck. He has more loyalty to the idea of Germany as a whole, rather than to Prussia in particular, and he is less inclined to see war as the best solution to a diplomatic problem (although he is quite willing to use it when necessary). He has the same formidable diplomatic talents, however.

[5] The combined armies of the German Confederation, which includes virtually all of the armed forces from the minor German states, and some contributions from each of the great German powers. The Deutschleger is trained and organised along Prussian lines.

[6] i.e. keep Lombardy and Venetia, which were integral parts of the German Confederation. The other Habsburg possessions in Italy were not.

[7] Designed by Matthew Spencer, who is similar to but not identical to OTL’s Christopher Spencer.

[8] The electorate of Hanover is still a possession of Great Britain ITTL, as there is a male ruler in Britain and thus no need for the province to diverge as happened in OTL when Victoria took the throne in Britain.

[9] And the sounds of Bismarck’s laughter could probably have been heard across Europe.

[10] Yes, poor Uri, but better than rejoining Austria.


Decades of Darkness #64a: Amidst The Gathering Dark

Excerpts from “A Jaguar’s Life: An Autobiography

(c) 1894 By Captain James Fisher (ret.)

Conrad Publishing Company: Baton Rogue.

I was born in 1847 in Terence, a small no-account town in West Florida, northeast of Baton Rogue. There were never many people in Terence, just a few small farmers and suppliers for the big sugar and cotton plantations outside of town. No railroad ran through Terence when I was young, just a couple of roads the locals always used to complain about. There were always enough ways for the planters to get their crops to the river, so who cared about the rest of us? We would get a railroad when they were ready, thank you so very much. They finally put one through about 1860, I think, when I was thirteen years old. It was one of the first things that made me decide I wanted to leave Terence.

My father ran the general store, and he had always thought I would follow him in running the store, but I never did like that. I’d rather feel God’s own sun on my chest than be shut up in some dingy box of a shop writing things down all day. I hate writing. My father taught me enough that I can cipher out words, but I can barely write nothing, and I hate to add up numbers. I had to get a man to help me with writing out this book, otherwise it would have never got written. I heard tell that people wanted to hear stories about the Jaguars, and I’ve got a story I want to tell but I’ll tell it my way...

Right after the railroad came to Terence – or it may have been a bit before – I met the man who changed my life, who first gave me a hint that maybe there was a bigger world than just small-town Terence. Don’t get me wrong, Terence was a nice place in lots of ways. It was just small. I was never happier as a young man than when I could get out of town, even if it was just a mile away. I liked the country, I liked running around under a baking-hot sun. I liked trees, as much of them as were around. Whenever I got a chance, I’d go exploring with my friends Tim and Alex, or escape my chores to play around town.

But of the three of us, I was the only one who met the man. I can still remember him, even now. A very tall man, well over six foot I’d think, and lean. Oh, so lean. He looked like he didn’t have any muscles on him at all, but he showed me soon enough that he had strength to him.

Anyway, he brought something from my father’s store, and he came outside to see me creeping around the side of the building next door holding a stick that was meant to look like a gun. Me and Alex and Tim had escaped from our chores – again – and we were having one of our usual play-fights. I think I was meant to be General Jackson back before he was President, and they were Seminoles, but I can’t rightly remember. I just know I was creeping, and he was coming out of the store, and he stopped to look at me, and he said, “Boy, what’re you doing there?”

I’d like to say I had a snappy answer for him, but truth to tell, I was so worried he’d drag me back inside to my father, I just stood there and did nothing.

“You think you’re being a soldier?”

I nodded.

“No, boy. Soldiers line up in a regiment and march across battlefields. Soldiers don’t need to fight in a town. What you’re doing here, boy, is an irregular. A warrior.”

I asked, “And you’re a warrior?”, or something like that.

“I was better than a warrior. I was a Jaguar.”

“What’s so special about a jaguar?”

The man grinned. I’ll always remember that grin; it puts me in mind of what a fish would see just before the shark bites. “A jaguar doesn’t let anyone know he’s there. He moves quietly, he hides until he chooses where he’ll attack. And when he strikes, he always wins. That’s what it means to be a Jaguar.”

Again, all I could do was nod.

The main said, “So, if you were a Jaguar, how would you go chasing after these friends of yours?”

I shrugged. “Go around the building.”

The man shook his head. “They’ll be waiting for you. They’ll ambush you. No, boy, what you do is, you go over.”

He helped me up onto the roof, and I climbed over and ‘shot’ Alex and Tim. They accused me of cheating, of course. The man had gone by then, so I never heard what his answer would have been to that charge, but I learned it anyway, years later, when I joined the Jaguars. It became my motto. Cheating means that you’ve broken the rules. But Jaguars don’t believe in rules. Except one. “War has just one rule: Don’t lose.”

I didn’t even learn the man’s name until years later, too. I saw him in a regimental photo. He was Sergeant Matthew Thompson, and he served eight years in the Jaguars, from 1852 to 1859, when President Davis finally pulled them out of the Yucatan. He only had to serve three years, but he kept volunteering for another service. He must have caught every tropical disease Satan invented, and picked up every damn mould you can catch in the jungle, but he stayed in the Yucatan all the way through, one of only a handful of men to do so. He’d been passing through Terence on his way back home, and stopped to talk to me. A few moments chat for him, but a lifetime’s change for me. Which was why, six years after I met him, I found myself on the top of a jungle-covered hill somewhere in East Cuba, looking for bush niggers...

At sixteen, I enrolled in the National Guard, which of course had an office at Terence. In those days, it was still in chaos, not having changed over properly from the old days of the militia. There were still a lot of part-timers – most of the townsmen were in there every now and then – but mostly they just ran slave patrols. They hadn’t given men any training to speak of yet, since it’d be a rare West Floridan who didn’t know how to use a gun, but they mostly just kept an eye out for any runaway niggers. There were never very many of those by the time I joined, although my uncle always used to tell me stories about how we’d get runaways from the plantations all over the state running for Baton Rogue or Biloxi or Mobile, hoping to live amongst the free niggers in the towns and then stow away on a ship or something. That was pretty rare even then, I think, and there were no free blacks left by the time I joined. That didn’t leave us with many runaways. West Florida was pretty good for that. It wasn’t like it was Maryland or Tamaulipas or somewhere that the niggers could think they could run across the border. It’s a bit of a jog from Terence to the Yankee border, or to the Mexican border back when there was a Mexican border to run to. Even back then, it would have been a pretty brave nigger who’d try to run from here all the way to Mexico, and of course they’d have much, much further to run now. Bit of a swim to Cuba, if they wanted to go that way, and even further to an island without slaves, those days and now.

But back when I joined the Guard, they had started to develop proper training, and the young men like me got it. They showed us how to use a gun – which I already knew – and how to march in step – which I didn’t. I quite liked marching, and I really liked learning about guns. Especially when they got around to issuing some of us with the new Bornholm [1] rifle-muskets instead of old smoothbores. State-issue, of course, but West Florida could afford the best for its Guardsmen, and always did [2]. At least, that’s what I thought at the time. Our captain made a point of telling us that we should be glad we weren’t in some backwoods state like Arkansas or Iowa, and that we had the best equipment. When I was in the Guard, I learned about marching and shooting in formation, and I was so proud to be a soldier. For a time, I nearly forgot about Matthew Thompson and what he’d taught me. I was particularly sure that my Bornholm was the best gun a soldier, or even a warrior, could have.

Then I joined the Jaguars, and found out how wrong I was about both those things...

It was only a month after I joined the National Guard that we heard of the tragic news, that President Davis had been murdered. That stung in a way which nothing else has ever done to me, before or since. This was West Florida’s greatest son, hero of two great wars, conqueror of Mexico, and whose leadership had brought more glory to the United States than anyone since Washington, and he was dead at the hands of cowards. If only that cup had passed from us! We’ve had some very fine Presidents since, to be sure, but I don’t think we’ll ever see his like again. Even the Yankee President, Lincoln, came to West Florida to see Davis buried. I was never gladder that the railroad had come to Terence than when it let all of us in the National Guard stand in our uniforms as his funeral train went past, Davis lying in state in the ninth carriage. I haven’t shed many tears in my life, but I don’t mind admitting that I cried a river that day, and I wasn’t alone, either.

That day taught me a lot, I think. I was born in the year that the first American President was assassinated, and I neared manhood just as we lost another. Both times, we lost Presidents to men of lesser race. I never knew much about President Mangum, but President Davis certainly knew about the struggle between races, long before it cost him his life. I learned then that even the greatest of men can be a target, and that while our blood may be finer than theirs, it can still be spilled. And I decided that no nigger or greaser was ever going to spill mine, if I could help it. That promise would often be a hard one to keep...

I hadn’t long turned eighteen when the word came out that the Jaguars had been redeployed. It didn’t get much notice elsewhere in the country – the Jaguars didn’t quite have the same reputation we would get later – but we knew it in West Florida. They were our favourite regiment, even then, even if they always had a fair number of men from East Florida and Jackson as well. Then at Terence we got a copy of the Baton Rogue Standard up, and I happened to look over it, and I noticed a picture of a large spotted cat – a Jaguar, of course – with the slogan which is famous now, but was new then: WE TAKE THE BEST, WE LEAVE THE REST. Then I remembered Matthew Thompson, and the Jaguars. I had the pride of a young man, and I was sure I was one of the best.

When I found out that the Jaguars were recruiting men, it didn’t take me long to get down to the recruiting office a few towns over where they were taking volunteers. My father didn’t want me to leave, but I said I was going with or without his permission, so he let me go. The train brought me to the recruiting office soon enough.

There were about fifty of us would-be Jaguars there, mostly young men like me, but a few older ones. The recruiting officer was named Clark, who was quite a loyal man for an Irishman. He was no Catholic, as he made quite clear. There were a few Irish in Baton Rogue and Mobile, by all reports, but we didn’t see many others in 1865. Clark had a chest like a barrel and a voice like a pack of wolves in full chorus, and he was kind enough to tell us that there would be only ten men admitted to the Jaguars, and that the rest of us were welcome to volunteer for one of the other units being formed, who were also being sent to Cuba. Or to Sinaloa or Sonora, to fight redskins and greasers who also hadn’t quite accepted the rule of the United States. Oh, how desperate I was to make sure I was one of those ten! I don’t think I could have survived the humiliation of never making it into the Jaguars.

They took down our names and particulars, and asked us about our military services, particularly whether we knew how to use Bornholms. A couple of men said they couldn’t, and were sent out of the recruiterment office right then. One man, David Polk, who I’d met on the train journey down, stayed around to volunteer for one of the other units. I met him years later in Costa Rica, but that’s another story. The other man, I never did find out what happened to him.

They issued us with long wooden rods about the size and weight of a Bornholm. Clark said, “Your first test is a short three-mile run along that track there. The last ten men will be out of the Jaguars. If you leave your ‘gun’ behind, we’ll send you back to pick it up!”

Without any further word, Clark set off down the trail. I’ll say this for him: he was a hard man, Clark, but he didn’t expect you to do anything he couldn’t do himself. He didn’t have a Bornholm, of course, but he beat every one of us, and most of us were younger then him.

The run was hard, but I’d done worse. A few bravos sprinted ahead of us, but I over took all of them, including a couple who were walking by the time I caught them. I was the third man to finish, and not too far behind the first. My arms were quite sore by the time I got there, mind you. So it didn’t help when another officer thrust a Bornholm and powder at me and pointed me to a field with a canvas target of a man at what felt like a very long way away. “You have five minutes to see how many bullets you can put into the canvas,” the officer said. That was a challenge, but I got three bullets into the target. I watched most of the others; some had four, one five, but most only one or two.

When we had all finished shooting – there were twenty-eight of us by that stage – the ones who didn’t finish the run in time had been sent on. Clark gathered us into a line, spoke to his other recruiters for a moment, then announced, “Twelve of your scored three hits or better. The rest of you, thank you for your time, and I hope you can still serve the United States in one of our other volunteer units.” Those other men stepped away, and Clark said, “We have twelve men left, and only ten places to fill. So, I’m going to ask each of you a question, and I want to hear a good answer.”

Clark moved down the line. With his booming voice, I could hear him ask the same question over and over: “Why do you want to be a Jaguar?”

I frantically thought about my answer. Thankfully, the words of Matthew Thompson came back to me, and when my turn came, I said, “I want to be a warrior, not a soldier. I want to fight when I choose, and so that when I strike, I know I’ll win.” Clark just nodded and moved down the line, but I felt I’d impressed him, all the same. And when he called ten of us out, I was among them. I was going to be a Jaguar!


[1] Roughly equivalent to an early Civil War rifle-musket.

[2] West Florida has some of the best cotton and sugar land in the mainland United States, and is thus very wealthy.


Decades of Darkness #64b: Through Sun And Fire And Sea

Disclaimer: As with all posts, it’s important to remember that the attitudes and vocabulary of characters in this post are not necessarily compatible with mine. In this case, they are most emphatically incompatible. The DoD USA is not a particularly nice place, and this episode displays some of the least pleasant parts of it.


Excerpts from “A Jaguar’s Life: An Autobiography

(c) 1894 By Captain James Fisher (ret.)

Conrad Publishing Company: Baton Rogue.

The training for the Jaguars sent us to southwestern Georgia, oddly enough, where we could train in the forest. The Yucatan would have been better, I think, but at the time not many trainers would dare to send us there. Disease was a bigger killer than the indios, we were told by some of the veterans of that campaign. There were a few treatments available – quinine had been in use for more than forty years even back then, and yellow fever vaccine was just starting to be used. We would receive that vaccine before we were sent to Cuba. But still, no-one wanted to expose us to the diseases for any longer than we had to, so we trained in a forested part of Georgia instead.

The training was hard, and it made me think that anyone who went through the National Guard had no idea how easily they were treated. We did more running than I care to remember, along with climbing, crawling, and anything else that would improve our strength. Only the fittest of men can get into the Jaguars, but by God, you get fitter still once you’re in. They taught us how to use weapons, of course, in a way I had never imagined. We used mostly Bornholms for the first few weeks, but we also practiced with a few foreign-made guns in case we ever needed to use them. We learned how to fight with knives, since many times a Jaguar wants to strike without the sound of a gunshot. But after a few weeks they introduced us to the gun which made me realise how inferior the Bornholm was, the gun which became the trademark of the Jaguars throughout the Cuba campaign – the Spencer carbine [1].

Our introduction to this gun came from Sergeant James Huntington, another of the grizzled veterans of Yucatan. Huntington had served four years there, until the recall. Unlike Thompson, he had stayed with the reduced regiment of Jaguars to establish a training policy to teach the hard lessons learned in the jungle, fighting an enemy who had grown up there and who would not submit easily. The Jaguars had often been looked down on by the Regular Army as grubby, disorganised volunteers, and there was talk of disbanding them after the Yucatan campaign ended.

However, Governor Rhea had fought for the preservation of the 1st West Florida Volunteer Infantry, and our regiment remained as the core of the Jaguars, although some of the other volunteer regiments who had fought with us in the Yucatan were disbanded. But Huntington and his fellows stayed on to develop the training practices which I went through five years later. The Jaguars weren’t deployed anywhere officially between the Yucatan and East Cuba, although quite a few of us were among the liberators of Puerto Rico from Spanish rule.

Anyway, Huntington was waiting for us after we came back from the three-mile run which is a Jaguar’s way of working up an appetite for lunch. We were sent to the rifle range to learn how to use a new weapon, but none of us could quite have expected what we saw.

Huntington said, “Which if you lads thinks he’s the best shot with a Bornholm?” With some officers, anyone answering that kind of question would have found himself cleaning something ugly and dirty. With Huntington, you knew it was an honest question.

Harry Walker, the same man who had shot five targets at our recruitment, and who was also a damn fine runner, stepped forward.

Never a man to waste a word when a gesture would do, Huntington waved Walker to the side of the range where a Bornholm waited. “Three shots, quick as you can,” Huntington said.

Walker was fast, no doubt about it. He loaded the Bornholm and shot thrice in would have been no more than a minute. Anyone used to today’s guns might think that was damn slow shooting, but it was good for a muzzle-loader.

So when Huntington stepped up with a new carbine – stubbier than the Bornholm – I wasn’t expecting anything much, just another foreign-made gun. Sure enough, Huntington said, “This gun is called a Spencer, made by some hotshot inventor up in New England. This gun is so good, it’s the main reason there’s a king in Italy these days [2]. Say what you like about the Yankees, but they’ve always made fine weapons.”

He took what I now know was a magazine of bullets, and shoved it into the gun. Then he raised the carbine to his shoulder, worked a lever, and shot the target. He worked the lever again and took another shot. After seven shots – I automatically counted someone’s shots by then – he inserted another magazine and started again. It the same minute where Walker had fired three shots, Huntington had shot fourteen! And it would be much easier to load under pressure, too.

Walker got the first Spencer, cradled it in his arms, and said, “I think I’m in love.” He sounded more than half-sincere, too.

Come to that, I learned to love the Spencer. Lighter, more accurate and much, much faster than any muzzle-loader could be. The ammunition was lighter too, bullet for bullet, which made even more difference when operating in the jungle like a Jaguar should. We spent the next week becoming much more familiar with a Spencer. None of us would ever use another gun again after that if we had a choice.

And then the real Jaguar training began.

The first month or so of Jaguar training was simply to build up stamina and make sure we had discipline. Especially fire discipline, which was why we trained with Bornholms at first. That was why we practiced marching in formation, a skill which no Jaguar would ever expect to use in actual combat. Then we could start to learn the true arts of a Jaguar: small-unit fighting and stealth.

Some troops march by company or even battalion; we manoeuvre in patrols of eight men, sometimes less. So we learned how to operate effectively in small groups, how to protect each other’s flanks, how to advance and retreat under cover of each other’s fire. We learned the techniques of scouting, which would often be our role when we were attached to Regular units, and how to get information back. They also taught us – or tried to teach us, anyway – when to engage and when to avoid combat.

And, of course, we learned how to move without being noticed. That’s the most important skill for a Jaguar, and one which can’t be trained overnight. We were given a dramatic lesson in that, the first time we were sent out on an extended patrol through the forest. We were given compasses, with the simple instructions to head south until we reached the river, then west until we reached the rail line, then we would be brought back. Sergeant Clark, we were told, would follow us and judge our performance. Eight of us went out in the patrol, and we were pretty cocky that we would do well. Especially since we went the whole of the first day without seeing any sign of Clark, and we set a watch as usual that night.

Clark was sitting in the middle of our camp the next morning. Walker and I had been on watch for the last part of the night, but we never saw him move in. Clark just smiled at us and left for the day. We kept going south, but some of us tried waiting behind for any sign of Clark. We had no luck.

The next morning, Clark was waiting for us in the middle of the camp again. This time, he stayed with us for a while, giving us advice on how best to travel through the forest. We listened, and practiced drills as we marched. I was right beside Clark as we talked about something – I don’t rightly remember what – and then he vanished. I looked all around, but he had somehow snuck away.

The next morning, and the morning after that, he was back in camp. He did the same thing for the rest of our patrol; showed us how to move silently for part of the day, then stalked us invisibly for the rest of it. We learned off him, and we were much quieter by the end of the week-long patrol, but he was still far better than us. Mind you, Clark had spent three years in the jungles of the Yucatan, hunting and being hunted by people who’d lived in those jungles all their lives, so if he hadn’t been good, he would have died. A lot of his comrades did...

After four months of training, I wouldn’t have called us experienced, but were still deployed to Cuba. The troubles on that island had grown to the point where it was only one declaration short of a war. It was never called a war throughout our time there, of course. President Myers would hardly ask Congress to declare war against a bunch of upstarts and rebels and niggers, or even imply that they deserved any form of recognition. To this day, most history books call it the ‘Cuban emergency’. To us on the ground, we soon found a useful Spanish phrase, the “guerra que no era”, “The War That Wasn’t” [3]. Or, as it was usually mangled by anglos, the Guerra Quenora. Some of the history books call it the Five Years War these days, but that makes it sound like one of those eternal European wars where they felt that “more of these idiotic monarchs trying to kill each other for the last few years,” although accurate, didn’t exactly roll off the tongue.

Once we were in Cuba, we had to learn Spanish very quickly, since in 1865 almost no-one in Cuba outside of the big cities spoke English, and not very many inside them, either. My Spanish had to become good, or I wouldn’t have survived. Too many of my comrades didn’t. As Jaguars we were good, but even the strongest Jaguar sometimes has something tread on his tail.

The whole situation down in Cuba was a mess, as we soon found out. West Cuba was better, since most of the blancos lived there, and most of the greasers were loyal too [4]. But back then, none of them looked at niggers quite the same way as people elsewhere in America.

There were a few rebellious landowners, even in West Cuba, which produced the usual round of confiscations. West Cuba may have been named a Territory, but it still had a military governor until the war was over further east. The blancos got treated pretty well in the west, even when they rebelled. One of the first things I remember after arriving in Habana was guarding the trial of one Antonio Rodriguez, a blanco planter who’d been convicted of consorting with and supplying rebels in West Cuba. General Joseph Peter Beauregard, military governor, pardoned him and restored his plantation after Rodriguez swore an oath of loyalty to the United States.

Even in West Cuba, there were problems with niggers. Even the slaves were uppity in a way no slave back on the mainland would have dared, and some of the free niggers thought they were as good as white men. By law, of course, they should have been shipped out or put back on the slave blocks once Cuba became U.S. territory, but there were so many free niggers that it couldn’t be done all at once. And clapping slave chains back on all of them would have triggered the kind of widespread revolt that no-one really wanted. Especially since, at first, the blancos and greasers still didn’t quite look at them the right way, and some might have joined the niggers in revolt.

Any niggers who did take up arms or who were too uppity were dealt with, of course. No-one was foolish enough to auction them in Habana, but the slave blocks at Baton Rouge and Tampico were quite popular amongst the breakers [5]. The blancos and greasers made far too much of a deal about mulattos, niggers who had some white blood in them. They hadn’t yet learned to keep their blood pure, and they cared about what happened to the mulattos. Some of the mulattos in Habana who could afford to had gone to Spain, rather than stay in Cuba. When a mulatto was being tried, they were usually shipped to Liberia rather than to the auction block like the general nigger.

We spent a month in Habana, adjusted to the climate, patrolling outside of the city, and learning a few basic words of Spanish before we were deployed to East Cuba, where there really was a rebellion. I was in C Squad, Fourth Company, 2nd Battalion. There were six greenskins in the squad, counting me, and after we reached Habana three veterans joined our squad, two PFCs [privates first-class] and Corporal William Wallace, a genuinely mad Scotsman who shared a name with some centuries-old fellow who defied the King of England. Wallace had the same idea, but he’d expanded it to defying everyone. He disagreed with his commanding officer – politely – and with everyone else – impolitely. But he did look out for the men under his command.

Anyway, after our month in and around Habana, we were sent into East Cuba. If I’d ever thought West Cuba was bad, it was much worse in the east. Here, while the local blancos were still mostly on our side, the greasers were lukewarm or openly hostile, and the niggers were all too close to Haiti, with everything that meant. The free niggers knew what was coming to them, and even the slaves would quietly support them. Being an American alone here was a quick way to die, in the worst parts. There were nigger bushwacker bands throughout the east, and at least three were large enough to be called armies. A few greasers used to run with them, too...

I spent years in the jungles and hills of East Cuba, tracking down bush niggers. For the first few months, we were sent to help blanco plantation owners whose niggers had fled, and then capture or kill the escapees. Usually we just killed them, since it’s mostly too hard to bring back a lot of rebellious niggers safely, but some made it back to their owners. They were usually sold again, since the breakers would pay reasonable prices for such slaves, and in Cuba for a long time slaves were cheaper to bring in from Africa than they were on the mainland [6].

Until mid-1866, that was our main role. Other Jaguars served as scouts for the Regular units who were sent to hunt the big nigger armies. But my company worked more as hunter-killers for the smaller bands. And I missed all of the major pitched battles of the war until 1868. Mine was the silent war, the quiet action to deprive the niggers of their main strength by cutting off the flow of recruits from the plantations. Far fewer niggers were ready to run to the hills when they knew there were Jaguars lurking there...

One thing kept coming up again and again as we kept killing outlaws – they had plenty of guns. More, by rights, than they should have. Some, no doubt, were from local blancos and greasers who were more sympathetic to the niggers than they should have been, but not all. We found British- and French-made guns, usually obsolete muzzle-loaders rather than the breech-loading repeaters which most nations were adopting by 1866. We never found any Yankee guns, which was strange, since the Yankees were over in Santo Domingo pretending that they owned the place. Capturing gun-runners became more and more important as the ‘emergency’ dragged on. Eventually, early in 1867, we were deployed as part of a group to intercept a group of suspected gun-runners in an obscure bay which interrogation of nigger-loving prisoners had suggested was used for landing such shipments.

We laid in wait for five days, hiding as only Jaguars can, until one night a ship hove to offshore and four boatloads of men came ashore. They had chosen a moonlit night, of course, and no doubt they would have been long gone by morning. But we were waiting for them, and although they tried to put up a fight, they learned the hard way that Jaguars are even more dangerous at night. We took a dozen men prisoner: four local blacks and four French-speaking Haitian niggers; a couple of greasers who could have come from almost anywhere; an overly-well-dressed Portuguese peacock whom none of us could understand properly; and the greatest prize of all, a genuine Yankee. A few escaped back on one boat to the ship, which sailed away into the darkness and one or two others may have run off into the night – even a Jaguar only has so many claws – but most of the rest were dead, and we had three boats full of various French and British guns, ammunition and powder. A valuable haul, and just the sort of evidence which might run up as far as President Myers and let him order the Yankees to stop pretending that they weren’t shipping guns to a war that he was pretending didn’t exist.

Later, we heard that the new Yankee president had sworn off any knowledge of gun-running, and smuggling of weapons did go down considerably after that, judging by the reduced number we took from dead nigger outlaws. As for us, I had a quick conference with my fellow corporals [7], and Sergeant Wallace. The Yankee had to go to face military justice at Guantanamo Bay, of course, and we decided to send the two greasers with him. None of us could figure out the Portuguese peacock, so we sent him on as well. That just left us the niggers. With whites or foreigners or blancos or even greasers, we might have been asked strong questions if we let them dance [i.e. lynched them without trial] but no-one would care what we did with the niggers.

In the end, we decided to send the Haitians to the slave blocks in Baton Rouge, since some of the breakers there spoke French and besides, it felt good to return them to the slave chains their fathers had abandoned by killing whites. The local niggers we didn’t have much use for, and they started to get mouthy at us, so we hung two of them. The third begged for his life and a trip to Liberia in exchange for leading us to the band he had been going to deliver the guns to. We granted him that, and he did his job well. Thanks to him, we later hunted down twenty-two nigger rebels who we killed on the spot and eight greasers who were hung outside Guantanamo Bay after a quick trial. The fourth nigger couldn’t offer us any such deal, so he went to the slave pens as well...

All told, I spent five years in Cuba, from 1865 to 1870, and I saw most of the campaign, save for a few of the earliest months. The campaign was long, and I even saw a couple of pitched battles in 1868 and 1869, although my unit kept to the fringes in each battle, since we were there as scouts. I entered Cuba as a private, I left as a sergeant. The campaign was at its worst in 1866-1867, I remember, when revolts sometimes spread to entire plantations and the niggers got the most outside help, but I fought in the last major battle in 1869 against some fresh revolutionaries. After that, the large-scale revolts were gone, and while there would be occasional trouble in East Cuba for years to come, it didn’t need the same commitment, as the new Patriot President Griffin decided, and declared the Cuban emergency over. The Jaguars rotated out after that. Most of us opted to go home then, but for myself, I didn’t want to leave. The Jaguars were the only life I knew, and all that would be waiting for me back in Terence would be a cramped general store.

So I was glad when Captain Clark called me to meet him back at Habana, before I could take a ship back to Baton Rouge. Clark said, “Fisher, you’ve never made me think you’re a man who wants to leave the Jaguars.”

“I don’t.”

Clark smiled. “Good. As it happens, there’s another place calling the Jaguars. Have you ever been to Nicaragua?”

I shook my head.

“There’s a new project down there. With all the work over in Egypt, President Griffin has announced a plan to build a canal to join the Caribbean to the Pacific.”

“That would be... amazing, sir,” I said, for want of something better. President Griffin certainly didn’t think small.

Clark nodded. “It’s been proposed before. The engineers have mapped out a possible route.”

“But there’s a problem with the route,” I said. Otherwise, what need for the Jaguars? None of us were engineers.

“The canal will travel along the San Juan River. The south bank of that river is the border with Costa Rica... but we’ll need to expand the river before ships can use it. The Costa Ricans may not be happy.”

“Will Costa Rica go the same way as Honduras, then?” I asked.

“Maybe. That’s up to President Griffin,” Clark said.

“Why would he care about-” I said, then stopped. “What do the British think of the canal?”

Clark said, “They want to make sure that if a canal is built, that they can use it. And, come to that, they’ve never really accepted the United States’ manifest destiny to include Central America. Honduras has them unhappy enough; add in a canal and Costa Rica and life could get... interesting.”

I smiled. “When can I go to Nicaragua, then?”


[1] Not quite the Spencer carbine of OTL, but a roughly equivalent weapon made by a Mark Spencer of New England.

[2] Something of an exaggeration on Huntington’s part, but the Spencers that New England and Britain sold to the Italian troops caused considerable discomfort to the Austrian and Prussian troops during the Swiss and Italian War.

[3] Would someone with a better knowledge of Spanish mind verifying this translation?

[4] In English, blanco was adopted to mean those former Cubans (or Mexicans, or any other applicable former nationality) who were wealthy enough to get classed as white. The poorer ones were politely classed as non-citizens, or, more usually, “greasers.”

[5] People who specialise in buying up intractable or otherwise rebellious slaves relatively cheaply, breaking their will through diverse means, then selling them on again for a profit.

[6] Cuba was not completely ‘plugged in’ to the broader American slave market for some time after its conquest. But the export of considerable numbers of Cuban slaves – and illegal imports from Africa shipped through Cuba and Puerto Rico – was a considerable factor in the stabilisation of slave prices in the 1860s and even, from the 1870s on, a slight real (i.e. after inflation) decline in prices. This was enhanced by the matching decline in cotton prices from the 1870s on, and the increased availability of non-slave bonded labour.

[7] Some of the omitted sections describe his two battlefield promotions.


Decades of Darkness #65: Taiping Away

14 April 1852

Yungan, Kwangsi Province

Chinese Empire (recognised)

Kingdom of Heavenly Peace (proclaimed)

The smoke still rose from the quarter of Yungan where the imperial forces had held out the longest. But that remnant of the imperial forces had fled. Hong Xiuquan smiled to himself, in the quiet of his room where he had withdrawn to commune with his father, Jesus [1]. He lay on his mat, and he slept, and in his dreams, Jesus came to him again. “What would you have me do next, my beloved and respected father?” Hong asked.

He listened, and he learned many things. After a time, Hong awoke and went to address the core of his followers. Hong said, “Our heavenly lord has spoken to me. We have done well thus far, but we must go further. Our Army of God must drive out the Manchus, the false emperors. The entire of the Yangtze Valley must fall to us, and we shall establish for ourselves a new capital in Nanking. Then we must chase the Manchus out of Beijing. From there, all of the Middle Kingdom shall become part of our Kingdom of Heavenly Peace.”


Excerpts from “The Long Road: A History of the Taiping Revolution”

By Professor Andrei Samokhval

Translated by Sally Turing

(c) 1973 Heavenly Publishing Company, Xinjing [2], Russian Federation.

The initial stages of the Taiping Revolution were deceptively dramatic in the advancement of rebel forces. The seizure of Yungan by the newly-proclaimed ‘Emperor Hong’, who had been crowned during the previous Chinese New Year, marked the beginning of a rapid advance up the central Yangtze Valley, culminating in the seizure of Nanjing in 1854. Yet this rapid advance was largely because the Taipings avoided most large urban centres, where the fighting would have been more difficult. This was demonstrated by their failure to capture Beijing in 1856, where imperial forces proved their match. The Taipings withdrew from the north for a time, and concentrated their advances westward to strengthen their hold on the Yangtze Valley. Their southern thrust could not quite capture Guangzhou. However, the pressure of continued Taiping advances came to bear when they finally marched on Shanghai in 1861...


From “The Whitman Encyclopaedia: Volume 23: Famous Americans (7th Edition)”

Editor-in-chief Dr Emilio Johnson

(c) 1949, Aztec Publishing Company

Mexico City, Mexico State,

United States of America

TOWNSEND, Frederick [3]. Adventurer, general and statesman. Born in Charleston, South Carolina, 2 May 1831. Died in Tokyo, Nippon, 13 August 1896. As a young man, Townsend served in the South Carolina National Guard before volunteering to join the 2nd South Carolina Infantry in the First Mexican War. He served in the ‘long march’ under General Zachary Taylor and then General Jefferson Davis into Mexico City. Townsend then became a soldier of fortune, serving with the Dutch army during the later stages of the Confederation War, with the Boer Republics in South Africa in their wars against the Zulus, and with Mark Lansdowne’s conquest of Nicaragua.

After Nicaragua was formally annexed, Townsend sailed across the Pacific to Formosa, reportedly believing that there might be opportunities in Nippon with the recent opening of that country. With no opportunities available, Townsend arrived in Shanghai just after the city had fallen to the Taiping rebels. Townsend met with Li Xuicheng, Zhong Prince of the Taipings, and agreed to serve with the rebels, apparently believing that this would “bring Christianity to the heathen Chinese”.

As a military adviser, and later as a general, Townsend proved remarkably effective. He added the benefits of military organisation and tactics, particularly the use of artillery, to the fanaticism and discipline of the Taipings. Townsend also had the benefit of considerable private contacts from his military service across the globe, and he was able to obtain considerable supplies of modern military equipment to be shipped in through Shanghai. This was contrary to the declared wishes of the governments of Britain and France, but with both powers locked in war in Europe, no active steps were taken against the Taipings beyond the dispatch of some military advisers to the Qing court...


Excerpts from “The Long Road: A History of the Taiping Revolution”

By Professor Andrei Samokhval

Translated by Sally Turing

(c) 1973 Heavenly Publishing Company, Xinjing [2], Russian Federation.

The Taiping cause, stalled after the first assault on Xinjing, was revitalised with the fall of Shanghai. The boost to their prestige was great, but importantly they now had access to supplies from the wider world. Substantial shipments of arms were sent to the Taipings, particularly through the German colony on Formosa, where the local commander was sympathetic to the Taipings. The Taipings renewed their advances, culminating in the capture of Xinjing in 1864. The Qing Dynasty fled to Manchuria to establish a new empire under the Tsar’s protection, while the first Taiping Emperor was crowned [4,5]...


[1] ITTL, Hong Xiuquan has had somewhat better access to Christianity, and adopted more of its tenets. He also has a slightly different view of his relationship to Christ.

[2] OTL Beijing, China. Xinjing means “new capital”.

[3] Not the same person as Frederick Townsend Ward of OTL, but a character intended to show what might have happened if someone like him with similar military experience had joined the Taipings.

[4] Yes, Hong Xiuquan had crowned himself previously. But this was official.

[5] And yes, this makes life more complicated for the European powers. Particularly with the Taipings’ opposition to opium.


Decades of Darkness #66: Whistle-Stops On The Global Tour

This is a brief tour of the wider world through to 1865. It summarises some of the already-mentioned developments, and expands on some of the other history which have not been previously mentioned. This timeline continues to deal mainly with events in North America and Europe, but this post fills in some of the details of what is happening elsewhere.


In AUSTRALIA, what the British had originally settled as an outpost to get rid of surplus convicts has started to become one of their more significant group of colonies. There has been increasing immigration to the South Pacific since the War of 1811, particularly from Ireland. The discovery of gold in the early 1830s, first in New South Wales and then in the new colony of Macquarie [OTL Victoria] led to a boom in population, especially in Liverpool [OTL Melbourne]. Additional colonies were since established at Kingsland [OTL Queensland], Van Diemen’s Land, New Zealand, Adelaide, and Stirling [OTL Perth; the colony is not yet called Western Australia]. With the expansion of navigation technology since the 1850s, the colonies have seen substantial migration, including substantial numbers of refugees from the wars in Switzerland and Spain. The British acquired New Caledonia from France during the War of 1833, and while this colony has a British-appointed governor, most of the colonial administrators come from New South Wales. New Zealand has been experiencing intermittent wars with the native Maori since the 1850s.

As of 1865, the population of the colonies is: New South Wales, 813,000; Macquarie, 1.02 million; Kingsland, 190,000; New Zealand, 296,000; Van Diemen’s Land, 103,000; South Australia, 217,000; West Australia, 147,000; and New Caledonia, 60,000. The total population of Australia is 2.85 million [a level it would not reach in OTL until approximately 1880]. There has been some discussion of establishing the continent as one or more kingdoms along the Canadian model, but the relatively frontier status and distance between some of the settled colonial areas has so far meant that there has been no monarchy status, although the colonies of New South Wales and Macquarie have both been granted self-government.


In the SANDWICH ISLANDS, the British have established a de facto protectorate, and the islands have seen some European migration since the 1840s. The native monarchy continues to look favourably on the British and seeks closer rule, but Americans have been showing increasing interest in the islands since the acquisition of the Californias during the First Mexican War. In particular, one Mr. William Quigley, third son of a East Texan planter, who led a regiment of volunteers during the Second Mexican War, has just paid a visit to the islands, and was most interested by what he saw...


In SOUTH-EAST ASIA, the Dutch still rule the DUTCH EAST INDIES as a separate colony, outside of the direct rule of the German Reich. In INDOCHINA, the French acquired Cochin China [roughly OTL South Vietnam] as a colony in 1856 and established a protectorate over CAMBODIA in 1858 [1]. Annam, Tonkin and Laos remain independent as of 1865. BURMA has fought two wars with the British (1824-26 and 1853) which has seen cession of territory including Lower Burma, but Upper Burma remains as an independent monarchy under King Mindon Min who is trying to modernise his state to resist British encroachment. In SIAM, the king is also attempting to modernise his country, but his nation is also a source of interest to Dutch and other German traders. The PHILLIPPINES have been largely immune to the ongoing wars in Spain, and remain a Spanish colony in 1865. FORMOSA has become a colony of the German Reich, and has received some immigration from the various German nations, with Dutch and Austrian migrants predominating.


In CHINA, the Opium War (also called Anglo-Chinese War of 1839-1842) has shown how unprepared the Middle Kingdom is to deal with the harsh realities of modern European technology. The humiliations inflicted by the British have led to the development of new ideology, such as that of Hong Xiuquan, who inspired the Taiping Revolution and ultimately became Emperor in 1864. China also has a Manchurian state ruled by the deposed Qing Emperor, who is under Russian protection, and there are Muslim revolts in the west and southwest. Britain and France, disappointed by the failure of their advisers to stop the Taipings, and finally free of the spectre of war in Europe, are considering what response to deliver to the new Chinese Emperor.


In NIPPON, two centuries of isolation came to an end with Admiral Fokker’s expedition in 1856, forcing the Nipponese to grant more or less open trading access. This was followed by a series of trading treaties forced on the Nipponese by Britain, France, the United States, New England and Russia (after the end of the Turkish War). The Nipponese resent this foreign encroachment, and there is growing sentiment within Nippon that the Tokugawa Shogunate has outlived its usefulness and needs to be replaced with a government which can absorb Western knowledge into Nipponese culture much as Chinese culture has been assimilated in the past.


In CHOSON [Korea], the ruling monarchs have long attempted to keep the nation isolated from the world by closing its borders to all but Chinese traders. Emissaries of the Germans, New England and Britain have attempted to secure trade treaties but have so far been rebuffed; thus far these nations have preferred to concentrate on their perceived greater pickings in China and Nippon rather than trying to force open the country.


In INDIA, the British acquired the French trading posts of Pondicherry and Chandernagore during the War of 1833. The British continued to rule through the East India Company until 1858, when the outbreak of the Indian Mutiny saw the British come perilously close to being driven out of the subcontinent altogether. The mutiny was eventually quelled with the support of some Indian peoples, particularly the Sikhs and the princely states who remained loyal, volunteer regiments from Australia, and other units which had originally been planned to support the Chinese government. The Mutiny lasted from 1858-1861, and India still required increased British garrisons in 1865, with the loyalty of the Indian Army still somewhat questionable. After 1861, India was officially declared part of the British Empire under the rule of Edward VII, Emperor of India, although governed through Viceroys, inaugurating the days of the British Raj.


PERSIA is still ruled by the Qajar Dynasty, but the resolution of the Turkish War saw Russia and Britain agree to spheres of influence over the northern and southern parts of the nation, respectively.


The OTTOMAN EMPIRE has vanished as a nation, broken by the combination of a major war with Russia and internal revolts in its European territories. Its European territories were partitioned between Russia [OTL Bulgaria, and they already had half of OTL Romania], Austria [Sarejevo], Greece, Italy [Albania] and the new nations of Serbia and Montenegro [2], except for a remnant of territory around Constantinople. The core of the Empire survived as the Sultanate of Turkey, which is a British protectorate and includes most of Mesopotamia. SYRIA has become a French colony, while the British rule PALESTINE and have established a protectorate over EGYPT. The Italians are seeking to acquire TUNISIA and LIBYA, while the French have established a firm colonial hold over ALGERIA. The Ottomans abandoned their claims to the Red Sea coast of Arabia, including Mecca and Medina, and the European powers are scrambling to fill this vacuum in power.


In AFRICA, most of the coast has been divided into trading posts and other European acquisitions, except where the disease barriers remain too great. The nation of LIBERIA [OTL southern Angola and northern NAMIBIA] has seen large migration of former slaves and free blacks from the United States (and a lesser number from New England), including some recent Spanish-speaking migrants from Cuba and Puerto Rico.


SOUTH AFRICA is divided between the British CAPE COLONY and the Boer republics of ORANGE FREE STATE and TRANSVAAL. The Cape Colony has seen increasing immigration since the 1820s [including some which in OTL would have gone to North America] while the Boer republics, established in 1842-3, have also seen some migration of Catholic Flemish abandoning the Netherlands but seeking a Dutch-speaking area to settle in. The Boer incursions against the Zulus in NATAL were initially repulsed. As of 1865, diamonds have just been discovered in the Kimberley region.


In northern SOUTH AMERICA, the colonies of BRITISH GUIANA [OTL Guyana], SURINAME and FRENCH GUIANA are in a complex position, resented by the United States as bastions of European colonialism, and coveted by the Empire of Brazil. British Guiana is most stable, but has border disputes with both Venezuela and Suriname. Suriname is one of the few places outside of Brazil and the United States where slavery is still legal, and in 1865 the United States sent a commission to the Netherlands to discuss the status of the colony. French Guiana has become an economic disaster since the abolition of slavery, and attempts to establish it as a penal colony have been largely defeated by the hostile disease environment.


In VENEZUELA, the eventual independence from COLOMBIA in 1848 has seen only ongoing civil disturbance, military takeovers and two brief civil wars. There is also an unsettled territorial dispute between Venezuela and British Guiana.


COLOMBIA [OTL Colombia, Ecuador and Panama] has become one of the few nations in Latin America with stable civilian rule, with a democratic tradition established since the days of President Bolivar. A brief period of military rule followed the secession of Venezuela in 1848, but civilian rule was restored within a year. After the seizure of Nicaragua and President Davis’s ‘manifest destiny’ speech, Colombia opened negotiations with Costa Rica for a defensive pact. These were initially treated as of little importance in Costa Rica, but the discussions became more urgent after the United States annexed Cuba and Puerto Rico, and established influence in Honduras. In 1864, Colombia invited military advisers from the German Reich (Prussian army officers and Dutch naval officers) to modernise their army and navy.


In southern SOUTH AMERICA, PERU has been an independent nation since the end of European intervention in 1825, although Spain continues to claim rulership of the country. UPPER PERU is locked in a territorial dispute with CHILE regarding the Pacific Coast in the Atacama Desert. ARGENTINA is a relatively prosperous nation which has seen substantial European migration, but whose effective control over the vast pampas is limited. PARAGUAY and URUGUAY are both small, relatively poor nations sandwiched between the greater powers of Brazil and Argentina [3].


The EMPIRE OF BRAZIL has become increasingly closely linked to the United States since the 1820s. Slave-trading contacts have become increasingly common, with Brazil becoming one of the major transshipment points for slave-trafficking from Angola and other parts of Africa, and then onto Cuba and the United States. Some of the more Americophile leaders in Brazil are beginning to adopt some of the US ideas, particularly racist theory which looks down on intermarriage between those of “European” blood and other races. U.S.- and British-financed railroad expansion in Brazil since the 1840s [4] has increased Brazil’s economy considerably. Brazil has unresolved territorial disputes over French Guiana, southern Suriname, and an interest in Uruguay. The Brazilian Emperor has recently expressed the possibility of expansion to Africa to secure a more stable source of slaves, with the Portuguese supply from Angola becoming reduced of late.


In the CARIBBEAN, the United States now include Cuba and Puerto Rico, New England has claimed a protectorate over SANTO DOMINGO, while HAITI is an independent state (although unrecognised by the USA). The rest of the Caribbean is divided between various colonial powers, with the British ruling Jamaica, the Bahamas, and a string of islands in the Lesser Antilles, with the rest divided between France, the Netherlands, and the last remaining Spanish outpost in the New World, TRINIDAD.


In CENTRAL AMERICA, the United States of Central America lasted from 1823 until its dissolution in civil war during the late 1830s. The states of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica declared their independence during that war. Since then, the United States has annexed Nicaragua and intervened in the government of Honduras, while the other states retain their independence in 1865. The British formerly had an interest in the Mosquito Coast (ceded to Nicaragua and Honduras in 1865) and ‘British Honduras’, which was an informal British colony for some time, but which the British are currently negotiating with Guatemala for a potential transfer of sovereignty.


The continent of NORTH AMERICA is currently divided between four nations: the United States of America, the Republic of New England, the Republic of Mexico and the Kingdom of Canada, plus the British enclaves of Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland. The United States has become dominated by slaveholding interests, and engaged in two wars which seized large parts of Mexico. Mexico is currently a precariously-ruled republic which has been cut off from the Caribbean coast by U.S. expansion. New England is rapidly industrialising and its commerce is active throughout much of the globe. The newly-formed Kingdom of Canada is rapidly expanding in population as its vast western territories are slowly developed, but there is considerable discontent amongst its Irish immigrants in Wisconsin and the metis.


The UNITED KINGDOM did not form Liberal governments as early as in OTL, with the first Liberal government in 1837. The nation has since adopted Catholic Emancipation, limited parliamentary reform, and abolished slavery within the Empire in 1842. Its colonial empire has gradually expanded since then, although the British have abandoned some of their areas of colonial influence in Central America under pressure from the United States. Following the success of the Canadian experiment, Britain granted Kingdom status to IRELAND in 1862. Britain engaged in a long war with Russia over Turkey, and has acquired considerable colonial interests in the Mediterranean as a result, including Turkey, Palestine and Egypt. With the acquisition of Egypt as a protectorate, the British have begun to build a canal through Suez to link the Mediterranean to the Red Sea.


FRANCE was involved in the War of 1833, which cost her some minor colonial possessions in India and New Caledonia, and led to the 1834 revolution and the December Monarchy. That monarchy was toppled in 1849, and led to the short-lived Second Republic which fell after the Confederation War and was replaced by the Second Empire under Napoleon III. France was involved in the Swiss and Italian War, acquiring some minor chunks of Switzerland and Italy during the peace negotiations that followed. France has also acquired Syria as a colony, and is expanding its control over Algeria, and various other colonial adventures around the globe. Napoleon III is currently looking at the confused situation in Spain and considering what territory he could possibly acquire. France also surrounds MONACO, and under the terms of the Second Congress of Vienna, Monaco will revert to France if the monarch dies without male heirs.


In SPAIN, instability of government has been the order of the day for far too long. The support from other European nations (mostly French) for Spain’s counter-revolutionary efforts in the New World meant that the Spanish attempts lasted longer, using up more resources, and weakening the authority, treasury and prestige of the Spanish monarchy. This meant that the *First Carlist Wars were correspondingly worse than in OTL. Tomás Zumalacárregui survived for a while longer, and successfully captured Bilbao, among other places. Don Carlos was still ultimately unsuccessful in the First Carlist Wars, but the monarchy was in pretty bad shape as a result. After this war, Espartero ran his own dictatorship for a while, supporting a more liberal agenda for the towns. He was deposed too, and Narvaez was made premier under a still-young Isabella. The Carlists didn't give up, and kept on with their revolts and attempted coups throughout the 1840s and 1850s. The population was getting pretty sick of the whole deal by this time, with the liberals in the towns alienated by Isabella, and the Carlists still strong in the north. With Isabella too conservative for their liking, some of the generals turned against her during the Second Carlist Wars (late 1850s), and established a republic. The republic was seen as lacking legitimacy overseas, and suffered depredations from U.S. expansion into Cuba and Puerto Rico. In 1865, the French Emperor Napoleon III, with British support, is considering intervening in Spain to restore Isabella to the throne.


PORTUGAL has seen an ongoing conflict-friendship relationship with its main colony, Brazil, since the Napoleonic Wars. The royal family fled there to escape Napoleon, and Brazil was raised to the status of a kingdom, equal with Portugal. However, after the French tyrant was defeated, and João VI took the throne of Portugal, Brazil's status began to be reduced. Pedro declared himself Emperor of Brazil in 1822, and succeeded to the throne of Portugal in 1826. He briefly considered establishing his own son Miguel [the child who in OTL would have been Maria] to the throne of Portugal, but rumblings of discontent from his brother Miguel led to him delaying this decision until his son Miguel reached his eighteenth birthday in 1837. After this date, Miguel I has been modernising the country has been warily establishing a constitutional monarchy, and trying to balance the legacies of the past, particularly the ongoing slave trade between Angola and Brazil, with the need for reform within his country. His modernisation has included improvements to roads, railways and public health, and the introduction of the telegraph. Portugal still claims the Olivença region, currently ruled by Spain, but is not actively pressing this claim.


In ITALY, most of the peninsula has recently been united into the Kingdom of Italy under Victor Emmanuel II [5]. The immediate area around Rome is still a separate papal fief, Austria holds Lombardy and Venetia, and SAN MARINO is still an independent republic, although Victor Emmanuel II has been making things as difficult as possible for the San Marinese to maintain their independence. Italy has established a colony over Albania, and is attempted to do the same to Tunisia and Libya.


GREECE won its independence in 1829, aided in part by their supply of frigates from New England. New England was also the first nation to recognise Greek independence, and there has been ongoing commercial and military contact, especially between the Greek Navy and the NEN. Greece has since acquired the Ionian Islands from Britain in 1834 in exchange for their neutrality during the Russo-Ottoman War of 1834-6, Grevena from the Ottomans at the end of the war, and Epirus and Macedonia during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the Second Congress of Vienna.


The GERMAN CONFEDERATION has slowly gone down the path of unification, and is now referred to as both the German Confederation and the German Reich. Its leading members are PRUSSIA, which includes Saxony and less of the Rhineland than in OTL, AUSTRIA, and the NETHERLANDS. Austria has recently acquired fresh territory in the Balkans (Sarajevo and Novi Pazar), and has seen its armed forces integrated into the combined German Army. There are some rumblings of nationalist discontent in Hungary, which is ruled as a separate state in personal union. The Netherlands [including OTL Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and parts of the Rhineland] are a rapidly-industrialising monarchy with four major languages and ongoing political confusion. Most of SWITZERLAND was incorporated into the Reich after the Swiss and Italian War, except for a rump state of French-speaking Protestant Switzerland.


The RUSSIAN EMPIRE has been continuing the same expansion it has pursued for centuries. The Russo-Ottoman War of 1834-1836 saw it acquire Moldavia and Wallachia. The Turkish War saw Russia add Bulgaria and parts of Asia Minor, although Alaska was lost. Russia is currently expanding its influence in northern China, and is also eyeing Choson.


In SCANDANAVIA, the two kingdoms of SWEDEN and DENMARK have become increasingly close since the German Confederation acquired Schleswig-Holstein from Denmark. Both powers have proclaimed neutrality from most world affairs, and in 1864 the Danish Crown Prince married a Swedish princess.


[1] Napoleon III’s desire for ‘la gloire’ in overseas colonies saw the French move into these areas earlier than OTL, although further expansion was delayed by the Swiss and Italian War.

[2] Which had already existed as a separate region, but which was given formal recognition during the Second Congress of Vienna.

[3] Francisco Solano López of Paraguay was not born in TTL, and thus there has been no War of the Triple Alliance, although Uruguay is in an increasingly uncomfortable position, sandwiched between the objectives of Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil.

[4] See the Matthias Baldwin entry in DoD #53a.

[5] Who has the same name but not the same personality as in OTL.


Decades of Darkness #67: All The King’s Men

“Peace is merely the interlude between wars.”

- Attributed to General Edward Mahan, as he then was (later 17th President of the United States)

22 May 1866

Selkirk, Northwest Territories [OTL Winnipeg, Manitoba]

Kingdom of Canada

Not for the first time, Louis Dumont, duly elected governor of the provisional government of Assiniboia – a government which had no official recognition anywhere outside of its own borders– wondered whether it was better to have a king in Canada than to be under the theoretical rule of a company whose shareholders were mostly in far-off London. The Company’s rule had been indifferent, by all reports, and limited by the tyranny of distance. Dumont had been but a small boy when the disparate lands under British rule were united into the Kingdom of Canada, and the Company’s rule had been proclaimed over. Yet the proclamation of a new monarch had made little difference to the lands around the Red River, which had remained the sparsely-settled domain of the Métis.

Most of the easterners simply had been not interested in arriving in Métis lands. Before Dumont was born, there had been a brief episode of settlement under the auspices of Lord Selkirk, for which the same king in Canada had recently proclaimed this town named after, but for many years most of the Canadians had preferred to settle in the lands further south, around the Great Lakes. Wisconsin had filled, while the Métis were left to live free. But slowly, that situation had changed. Over the last dozen years or so, and particularly over the last six, men and women had poured into the western prairies.

“These are our lands,” Dumont murmured. Too many of the immigrants were English-speakers, who brought their ugly ways into the Red River with them. At least the Irish were Catholics, many of them escaping the exclusion from Church education and other measures which made them second-class citizens in Wisconsin. The Irish were welcome, mostly, but the others... “These are our lands,” he repeated, as he looked down toward the Red River. The Canadian surveyors had come along that river, and were now surveying its banks for new land allotment, cutting straight across the old lots and farms of the Métis.

So far, Dumont had urged his people to stay peaceful. The Métis were few in number, and armed resistance would be more likely to arouse the ire of the Canadian government. Last year, he had organised a delegation to visit Kingston and request formal recognition of the Assiniboian government from the Parliament, but so far they had received no answer. What they had received instead was these surveyors.

“This must not go on,” Dumont said. Maybe force was the only answer they would listen to. Far south of Selkirk, the United States was locked in war with the Sioux and Cheyenne after the discovery of gold sent the Jackals pouring into the hills of Wyoming, or wherever it was. There had been reports that the Sioux – who were well-armed indeed of late – had won a stinging victory. Was that an example the Métis should follow?


13 August 1866

Dearborn, Wisconsin [OTL Chicago, Illinois]

Kingdom of Canada

Seamus O’Grady, long-time patron of the Lucky Eights pub, had heard many bar tales in his time. And there were many to tell in Wisconsin, a land he had visited because his other alternative was starvation in Ireland or the perils of a very, very long voyage to the Antipodes. Alas, most of the tales these days were bad. Catholics were treated badly in Wisconsin. They had to attend Protestant schools, for the most part. Worse, the provincial government tolerated the presence of the heretic Nephites, who were even worse than Protestants. Too many Nephites had settled in Dearborn. Worst of all had been the news they had just received today. The long discussed union of military forces between Canada and New England had finally been approved. “Our soldiers hafta work with them Catholic-haters?” Seamus asked the air. It was enough to make him order another drink.

Before he could finish it, a Nephite walked into the Lucky Eights. That spelled trouble, sure as day. No Nephites would touch alcohol – although O’Grady pitied them for that, not hated them – but they seemed to think that others should follow their own ways. Sure enough, the Nephite started to preach about the evils of alcohol. It was too much, on a day when he had heard so much else bad news.

O’Grady’s hurled bottle missed the Nephite. A volley of others followed, and the Nephite scurried him out of the pub. It wasn’t enough. “Chase him out of Dearborn!” O’Grady shouted. “Chase them all out!”


Excerpts taken from “Revolutions and Counter-Revolutions: Examples of the March of History”

(c) 1946 by Vladimir Trotsky,

Imperial Press,

Berlin: German Empire

The rebellions of 1866 marked the first test of Canada as a nation. Their causes were complex, involving the disaffection of both the Irish inhabitants of Wisconsin and the northwest, and that of the native Métis in the northwest. The immediate trigger is notorious, and scarcely needs repeating: the O’Grady brothers led a riot in Dearborn which spread across Wisconsin, involving many of the Irish inhabitants of that province. The Irish had never been particularly happy with the establishment of the monarchy, and the announcement of the military union with New England eventually pushed some of them into open rebellion. When their revolt spread to the northwest, the native Métis joined their Catholic brethren in revolt. The role of Louis Dumont will likely always remain a source of historical debate, but at the very least he took no steps to dissuade the rebellion.

Facing open rebellion, the Wisconsin militia provided reluctant or unable to defeat the rebels. This left only the few garrisons of regular soldiers who remained in Wisconsin – which were few in 1866 –and external assistance. The regular armed forces in Ontario could have been sent, and many voices in the Canadian Parliament were ready for vengeful retribution, particularly against the Métis. The split was largely along religious and ethnic lines, with the French Catholics of Quebec opposing counter-revolution, while the English-speaking Protestants of Ontario were eager for action. What this would have done for the sense of Canadian nationhood is unlikely to have been beneficial. Particularly when the United States offered to send troops to assist in restoring order, something which would have been nearly unthinkable even ten years before.

With the Canadian Parliament in deadlock, it was left to King James I to solve the crisis. He took advantage of the broad reserve powers available to the monarchy, and ordered the dissolution of the Wisconsin provincial legislature, the establishment of a new provincial government of Manitoba, and guaranteed protection for the religious and language rights of the Catholics in both Wisconsin and Manitoba. With these steps, all but a handful of the rebels conceded their position. The remnant was quickly forced into submission, and the result was a stronger and more stable Canada, rather than a weaker one as might have been expected. The firm role of the Canadian monarch as a force in Canadian politics had been established. The rebellions had a number of incidental effects as well, most notably the migration of many of the Nephites in southern Wisconsin – who still did not trust the Canadian government to protect them – to join their co-religionists in Vancouver Island. It also marked the beginning of, if not friendly, at least cordial relations between Canada and the United States...


Decades of Darkness #68: Domino Theory

“Those states [Latin America] are like so many dominoes; one has fallen, and another is tipping. If we fail to steady it now, the next shall fall, and ten more after that, until all the dominoes fall into the Caribbean, and we hear only the sound of waves where once were the chants of liberty.”

- Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston, speaking from the opposition benches after U.S. filibusters entered Nicaragua, 1858


The Presidential Elections of 1868

From “The Atlas of American Political History”

(c) 1946 By Karl Wundt

Lone Pine Publishing Company

Hammersford [OTL Salem, Oregon], Oregon State

United States of America


The 1868 elections saw the abandonment of President Myers, with the Democrats feeling that his leadership of quiet administration and consolidation of the United States, although beneficial to the country, lacked electoral appeal. Myers was persuaded not to stand for re-election, and the Democrats chose the incumbent vice-president, Joseph Holt, whose prosecution of the assassins of two presidents was still fondly remembered. The Patriots had a vigorous convention, with the two leading candidates William Travis, so narrowly defeated in the previous election, and James Robinson, still governor of Ohio, whose articulate enunciations of the duty of the American race were increasingly popular. However, with the two leading candidates deadlocked, the young but charismatic Senator Hugh Griffin [1] of Illinois adroitly negotiated for his nomination, and he was duly chosen. This proved a fortunate choice for the Patriots. Griffin’s campaigning was vigorous, and his aura of youthful energy and theme of the need to ‘renew the growth of the United States’ struck a chord with the electorate...

Popular Votes Electoral Votes

Griffin Holt Griffin Holt

Alabama 27,054 33,067 0 13

Arkansas 10,502 15,753 0 6

Coahuila 11,095 9,839 5 0

Delaware 10,074 3,726 3 0

E. Florida 4,707 6,239 0 3

E. Texas 27,491 17,576 8 0

Georgia 35,650 69,204 0 20

Illinois 65,482 45,505 16 0

Indiana 61,193 46,163 15 0

Iowa 37,574 23,029 9 0

Jackson 2,846 6,334 0 3

Jefferson 23,504 21,696 8 0

Kansas 35,596 26,853 3 0

Kentucky 66,713 84,908 0 23

Louisiana 25,024 22,203 10 0

Maryland 46,905 32,595 13 0

Mississippi 16,655 28,359 0 10

Missouri 45,382 39,585 14 0

New Leon 8,864 12,241 0 3

N. California 8,894 3,290 3 0

N. Carolina 52,119 56,462 0 19

Ohio 211,203 152,940 47 0

Pennsylvania 181,197 131,212 41 0

S. Carolina 20,181 42,885 0 14

Tamaulipas 8,709 11,544 0 3

Tennessee 69,143 84,508 0 24

Virginia 88,957 85,468 30 0

Washington 24,174 33,383 0 10

W. Florida 18,154 42,359 0 13

W. Texas 5,406 4,248 3 0

Westylvania 79,535 62,492 19 0

Wilkinson 24,522 15,678 7 0

Total 1,354,507 1,271,343 254 164

Although the 1868 elections delivered a clear victory to the Patriots and Griffin’s theme of expansion, they were also notable for other reasons. In particular, in an election where the Patriot vote rose almost everywhere, it was noteworthy that the only two states where the vote declined were Westylvania and Pennsylvania, two states which had formerly been Patriot heartland territory. This was the first sign of Pennsylvania’s anti-expansionistic sentiments and its shift away from the Patriots...


Excerpts from “The 100 Most Influential Men In World History”

By Alexandra Samotsova [2]

Translated by Alyssa Sherman

St Petersburg, Russian Federation

(c) 1973 Ulyanov & Trotsky Publishing Co., St Petersburg.

Used with permission.

18. Hugh Griffin (13th President of the United States).

When considering which American leaders to include in this work, I eventually settled on six: Washington, Cass, Davis, Griffin, Mitchell and Nielsen. Of these men, most Americans would name Cass, Davis or Mitchell as their greatest leader since the founding President. Yet when comparing their influence on the world stage, none of these men has had the same impact as Hugh Griffin. Griffin was in many respects the “Bismarck of the New World”, and his policy had the same advantages for the United States as Bismarck did for the German Reich. Griffin was as expansionistic as Cass or Davis, but he combined this with an extraordinary gift for intrigue and far greater astuteness of how to negotiate with the other Great Powers...


From “Eagle’s Wings, Lion’s Heart: A Biography of President Griffin”

(c) 1948 by Caroline Summers

Aztec Publishing Company

Mexico City, Mexico State,

United States of America

Hugh Griffin was the first president born since the end of the Great Rebellion [3]; our first national leader who was not burdened by the memory of America’s greatest moment of national weakness. He had seen only the growing strength of the American race, checked for a time by the War of 1833, but then only the natural growth of the United States. He possessed an aura of self-belief and confidence in the greatness of the United States which none of his predecessors, even the great Jefferson Davis, could match...

Griffin’s first great success as President came even before he was formally inaugurated. Although Myers remained in office until March 4, Griffin had acted as if he were President for some time before, and Myers made no particular efforts to stop him. Thus Griffin claimed the credit for joining Honduras to the United States. The Honduran President Medina had been supported by American advisers since 1863, but his government had become increasingly unstable due to internal dissension and a threatened invasion from liberal forces in Guatemala. Medina appealed to the United States for aid, and his emissaries met with Griffin rather than the outgoing President Myers. Griffin refused to provide any support for Honduras on any terms other than incorporation of the nation into the United States, although he did offer Medina a guarantee that he could remain as the governor of the new Honduras Territory for as long as he wished. Medina was reluctant to concede his nation’s independence, but he knew that he would lose power without it, and that if Honduras collapsed into civil war, the United States was likely to intervene anyway. Thus he agreed to Griffin’s terms, and Griffin became the first President able to mention the annexation of new territory as part of his inauguration speech...


23 June 1869

The Hague,

United Kingdom of the Netherlands,

German Confederation

Kaiser Willem III [4], Emperor of the East Indies, stared across at the presidential visitor from the New World. Willem felt vaguely uncomfortable dealing with the leader of a nation which had never had a monarchy, but he had to concede that this Griffin had an excess of charm. He also had a gift for languages, speaking Dutch with only the faintest trace of a sibilant English accent [5], and Willem had previously heard him also speaking fluent Neudeutsch when addressing the observers from the Frankfurt Diet.

Griffin said, “You are gracious to receive me, Your Majesty.”

Willem said, “I am gladdened to meet you.” He felt flattered that Griffin had chosen to leave the United States for a state visit – something which has advisers told him no previous American leader had ever done.

After a further exchange of pleasantries, they came to the main matter which had persuaded Griffin to cross the Atlantic – the long negotiations over the status of the Dutch possessions in the New World. Griffin said, “Discussions over your colonies, especially Suriname, have proceeded for some time.”

Willem nodded. He had long been ambivalent over the status of the Dutch possessions of Suriname, Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, Sint Eustatius and Sint Maarten. They were profitable enough, if the institution of slavery were allowed to continue, but continuing that institution was proving a continual diplomatic complication with Britain and his fellow German states. Emancipating the slaves, however, would be particularly expensive. “Your predecessor did not seem to attach much importance to them.”

Griffin smiled. “If I thought them unimportant, I would not be enjoying your very fine hospitality.”

Willem said, “If you think our possession so important, why would you expect us to part with them?”

Griffin said, “Two reasons. Firstly, they are a distraction from your natural areas of expansion in the East Indies and the Pacific. Secondly, while they are valuable while their current institutions continue, they will be nothing but a costly nuisance if those institutions are ended. Consider what has happened to the other Caribbean isles since emancipation.”

Willem said, “That is a telling point.” The French islands, in particular, had been worth little since their slaves were freed, and French Guiana had been nothing but a disaster. The only truly profitable islands in the Caribbean were those under American rule, where slavery still persisted, and Trinidad, where the Spanish government had abandoned plans to abolish slavery after fears that American filibusters would acquire the island if the proposals were carried out. An example which Willem suspected that the United States might repeat if slavery were abolished in the Dutch possessions. He doubted Griffin would authorise any such actions – he seemed too aware of the risks of being caught – but even unauthorised expeditions would be a nuisance. After the costs of the late war, and when considering further costs for compensating slaveowners, it hardly seemed worth the trouble.

Willem knew that he could hold onto the colonies if he needed to, but the cost was pointless. With that decision made, Willem knew that the negotiations only needed to be dragged out until he had established a fair price. The United States were rich; they were pulling much gold out of the ground in their western provinces, and Willem knew from his own colonies how profitable plantations could be. The United States had sugar too, and they had cotton, tobacco, sisal and the very fine tea which Willem himself was fond of. He was willing to sell the colonies, but he would make sure that the price was worthwhile.


Excerpt from “The New Oxford Historical Dictionary”

(c) 1949 New Oxford University,

Liverpool [Melbourne], Kingdom of Australia

Used with permission.

“Canal War” (1871): A short-lived civil war within Costa Rica, between revolutionaries reportedly backed by U.S. irregular forces and government forces. The rebels seized San José and proclaimed themselves the legitimate government, although fighting continued. One of their first acts was to announce the cession of the northern sections of the country (to the watershed of the San Juan River) to the United States. The United States declined the full breadth of the offer, but accepted a border ten miles south of the San Juan River. After negotiations with the United Kingdom, whereby the United States guaranteed freedom of passage through the proposed Nicaragua Canal in peacetime, Britain and the USA issued a joint declaration of the need for peace, and dispatched a combined force (soon joined by Colombian soldiers) to preserve order in Costa Rica, bringing an end to the Canal War.


4 May 1873

The New White House,

Columbia City, Federal District

United States of America

Edwin McCullough had endured over four years as Secretary of State, but most of those four years had left him feeling as useful as a vermiform appendix. President Griffin was content to leave most domestic affairs in the hands of his Cabinet – except for ensuring that the armed forces were ready for use at any time – but he was for all practical purposes his own Secretary of State. McCullough had spent most of the last four years performing negotiations with minor nations and hosting second-rate dignitaries. If there were any important foreign affairs to be considered, President Griffin did the considering himself.

So, McCullough was unsurprised when Griffin summoned him to the Davis Room for what would undoubtedly be an instruction rather than a discussion. The President made some polite small talk about the view of the Tennessee River – Griffin was always charming, no matter what else might be said about him – before settling down to the expected instructions.

Griffin said, “I would like our minister in Mexico City to convey to President Salas that the United States will not oppose Mexico’s historic claim over Guatemala.”

McCullough felt his eyes widen. Griffin’s announcements often seemed to come out of nowhere; the President worked more by leaps of intuition than any rational consideration of the world. Yet even this was unusual. “You do not want to acquire Guatemala for ourselves?”

“The British are increasingly wary of our growth, after Costa Rica. They would particularly dislike if we enforced Guatemala’s claims to her Caribbean coast.”

McCullough nodded. He had reported a couple of months ago on the status of Mexico, with the new dictator “President” Salas seeking something which would win him popularity, if not legitimacy. But McCullough had never expected Griffin to respond with this. “Salas may well accept such an invitation.”

Griffin grinned. “He will seize on it. It gives him a chance to make up for some of the territory Mexico lost in the last war, and distract his opponents with a successful war elsewhere. And he thinks, no doubt, that it will give him a connection to the Caribbean.”

“This will stop us from connecting our territory in Central America to the Yucatan,” McCullough warned.

“So what?” Griffin replied. “That may look good on a map, but nothing more. No-one can build decent roads through those jungles and mountains, so goods would move by ship either way. And the advantages are manifold.”

“I don’t see them,” McCullough said.

“Don’t you think it will be to our advantage to enter Guatemala later, as liberators?” Griffin said. “And, of course, the British will reclaim their coastal enclave, much to Mexico’s disappointment.”

Light began to dawn inside McCullough’s head. “You expect this to sour relations between Mexico and the British?”

“That would be better fortune than I expect,” Griffin said. “But there are other steps we can take.” Typically, he refused to state them, and McCullough knew better than to ask.

Instead, the Secretary of State said, “Are you certain that President Salas will accept this? He has to know what our manifest destiny is.”

Griffin shrugged. “Salas knows that we can conquer his entire nation if we care to, so why would he refuse an offer of friendship?”

“Any strength that Mexico gains will weaken us,” McCullough said.

Griffin said, “We should not annex all of Mexico, in any event. They would be close to a quarter of our population – very hard to control – and it would create great consternation in Europe. We are not the only nation to feed on the rotting corpse of Spain, and no-one in the Old World even knows the names of nations like Nicaragua or Honduras, but Mexico is another matter. If anything, a war to liberate Guatemala may also give us an excuse to conquer other parts of Mexico.”


13 April 1874

The New White House,

Columbia City, Federal District

United States of America

“At last, at last!” President Griffin said, holding the letter from Mexico City. He had waited nearly a year for President Salas to make a mistake like this. All the negotiations on the American side had been handled discreetly, but building a great sense of trust between Mexico and the United States. Nothing substantive on his side had been in writing; he had ensured that. He summoned his secretary. “Would you please invite the British ambassador for a meeting at his earliest convenience?”


Excerpt from “The New Oxford Historical Dictionary”

(c) 1949 New Oxford University,

Liverpool [Melbourne], Kingdom of Australia

Used with permission.

Gomez Letter: A letter sent from Jorge Gomez, the Mexican Secretary for Foreign Affairs, to the United States. The letter invited the United States to join Mexico in a war with the British Empire, with Mexico seizing what was then British Honduras and El Salvador, while the United States was to acquire Canada, New England, and the British Caribbean. The United States published the letter and promised peace between the United States and the United Kingdom, including coaling rights if the British wished to send a defensive force to British Honduras.

The British responded by declaring British Honduras to be a colony, although avoiding any attempts to liberate Guatemala. It is uncertain whether the letter was entirely believed in Britain, and modern historians believe that there was political corruption involved in Mexico over its production. The affair had two important outcomes. El Salvador appealed for and obtained a protectorate from the United States to avoid Mexican invasion (again with some suspicion over American bribery of key government officials). Relations between Britain and Mexico were already strained by the Mexican conquest of Guatemala, and now turned sour.


Extracts from a letter by Captain Pablo Bustamante, Mexican Army, to his wife Conchita

Dated 13 November 1874

Too late, we see the perfidy of the norteamericanos. They were our friends in this war with Guatemala, we were told. And so it seemed indeed, with some of their filibusters serving with our army, and that buffoon Salas proclaiming their good support. Those filibusters are with our army still, but they had best leave or they will die.

As for poor Mexico, where stands she now? Friendless and alone. Two wars have we fought alone against the norteamericanos, and if we fight a third, will any of us be left? Now Salas has ensured that Britain, the only nation who might have helped us, is now our enemy. I think you and I must abandon this country and find a new home, for I fear what will happen to Mexico. Her day is nearly over, a brief moment of glory after independence, but now the sun is setting below Mexico, and she can only sit alone until night falls and the jackals come down from the hills...


Excerpts from “The 100 Greatest Events That Changed The World”

By Josiah H. Canterbury, Richard Irving and Emily Vasquez

(c) 1950, Vanderbilt Press

New York City, Long Island, New England

82. The Caribbean Purchase

“The French tyrant has pressed upon the brow of labor a crown of thorns; he has crucified the hope of mankind upon a cross of gold.”

- From a speech by Radical Senator and former president Abraham Lincoln to the New England Congress, 1875, responding to the news of the Caribbean Purchase

It has been said, with considerable justice, that the Louisiana Purchase changed the course of history. That sale by the first French Emperor doubled the size of the United States and guaranteed it an open path to expand to the Pacific, and also caused considerable secessionist sentiment in New England which eventually led to the secession of those states and the formation of the New Republic. While the Caribbean Purchase did not have quite so dramatic effects, it nonetheless represents as well as any moment the shift in the New World from the old colonial powers to the new imperialism.

The old colonial empires had dominated the Americas for centuries, but their decline had been remarkable. The Dutch colonial empire, weak though it was, lingered for a long time before the sale of the remnants to the United States in 1869. Portugal’s colonial empire had also fallen with the ascendancy of Brazil. Spain’s American empire, once the largest of all, collapsed throughout the course of the nineteenth century, until its last remnant, Trinidad, was acquired by France in 1872 as part of the settlement of the Spanish Question. Of the old colonial powers, this left only the British Empire and the French Empire holding parts of the Caribbean and South American coast. With the Caribbean Purchase, only the British Empire remained, and the Caribbean was now partitioned between the three great English-speaking powers (with the odd exception of Haiti). Every other European power now turned their attention to other spheres, while the rising powers of the United States and Brazil had now clearly joined the colonial race...

There is a remarkable similarity between the Louisiana Purchase and the Caribbean Purchase. In both cases, a French Emperor made an attempt to acquire a colonial empire in the New World, then abandoned this with a sale to the United States. Napoleon I began with Haiti, and sold Louisiana; Napoleon III began with Trinidad and sold the Caribbean. Both French Emperors had built up remarkable acquisitions elsewhere: Napoleon I in Europe and Napoleon III in the Mediterranean, Africa and Indochina. But both French Emperors found themselves needing money to pursue their more difficult ambitions, and thus the sales. In Napoleon III’s case, the sale rid him of Caribbean colonies which had been costly distractions since the abolition of slavery – and saved him the expense of ending slavery in Trinidad – and allowed him to concentrate on more dramatic expansions in Africa.

The lands included in the Caribbean Purchase (French Guiana, Martinique, Trinidad, and Tobago) were relatively minor, particularly when compared to the vastness of Louisiana, but they added immensely to the prestige of the United States. Besides confirming the rise in power of the United States, the Caribbean Purchase also represented a triumph of diplomacy. President Griffin sold most of the purchased lands of French Guiana, along with the interior of Suriname Territory, to Brazil, in exchange for a trade agreement and formal military alliance [7]. Griffin traded nearly valueless lands and secured a valuable ally in South America. This aspect of the Caribbean Purchase, although outside of the terms of the sale itself, was to have the greatest impact on world history...


Extracts from “From Napoleon to Peter: International Relations in the Nineteenth Century (1789-1906)”

By Professor Andries Maritz

King Edward University

Retief [Pretoria], Kingdom of South Africa

(c) 1942 Pioneer Publishing Company: Retief. Used with permission.

In history, the defining periods rarely correspond to convenient calendrical dates. To write a history of international relations in Europe from 1800-1900 would be incomplete, as it would ignore the importance of the French Revolutionary Wars before the century began, or the completion of trends which began during the century. The selection of a start date was relatively simple, since 1789 represents the breakdown of the old order in Europe and the ushering in of the era of nationalism which was one of the defining trends of the nineteenth century. Selecting an end-point was more difficult, since this brings events close to the present day, which is too fresh for proper historical analysis, and which makes the trends more difficult to define. Some have argued (e.g. Buckingham, 1938; Arnold, 1940) that this era should more properly be defined as ending in 1929, but in my opinion this is far too recent to permit dispassionate analysis. I have selected 1906 instead, since the abdication of Peter IV marked the departure of the last of the great national leaders who had dominated international relations in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, and the beginnings of a new order in Europe...

Chapter 18.

The events of 1874-1877 mark an important shift in international relations, as for the first time non-European powers became important. Britain’s granting of ambassadorial status to the United States in 1874 was a mark of that nation’s increasing prominence, as was the similar concession to Brazil in 1876. As was discussed in the previous chapter, the sale of the French colonies helped to antagonise relations between Britain and France, but it also increased British concern over American expansionism. In Britain, the fall of Disraeli’s government was in large part due to the feeling that the United States had been allowed to grow unchecked, and this led to the restoration of Gladstone to the premiership, and this produced a substantial change in foreign policy.

Gladstone initially sought German assistance in developing a containment strategy in Central America, given previous German involvement in Colombia. The response to this request indicates the ambiguous nature of German foreign policy during this period. The Holy Roman Emperor, Franz Josef, was theoretically responsible for representing the Reich in foreign affairs (although both Prussia and the Netherlands received ambassadors), but he had little interest in events on the far side of the Atlantic. Gladstone’s overtures were referred to the Diet in Frankfurt, where Reichs Chancellor [8] Bismarck vetoed any formal alliance with New World powers. Bismarck here followed his long-established policy of avoiding any commitments which would force Germany into war overseas; he had no desire to see Germany committed to war with the United States over what he perceived to be minor states in the Americas. Germany had and would retain influence in Colombia through its military advisers and trade concessions, but it would not become a formal ally.

This left Britain to settle affairs alone. Gladstone’s diplomacy was effective, and in 1877 the Bogotá Pact was signed between Great Britain, Colombia, Costa Rica and Venezuela. A defensive alliance between these nations, its clear (although never explicitly stated) purpose was to prevent any further American expansion southward. Discussions had originally proposed Mexico as another signatory, but this was met with reluctance from the South American nations, who viewed Mexico as inevitably doomed to fall to the United States [9], and who distrusted the Mexican government after Guatemala. With the Halifax Pact still firmly held in the north, and with American expansion also checked in the Sandwich Islands, a degree of stability was restored to the New World. The key focus of international relations now shifted to Africa and the Far East, where the colonial race was beginning in earnest...


[1] This name is different from the President mentioned for this period in post #64b – I’ve altered it.

[2] Alexandra Samotsova, and her companion and English translator Alyssa Sherman, writing about the history of influential men came as about as much of a shock as, say, OTL’s Germaine Greer would. Their choice of which historical figures have been most influential is unorthodox, to say the least.

[3] i.e. the War of 1811.

[4] Although Willem Alexander was the first Dutch ruler to be counted as a Kaiser, the dynastic nomenclature includes the previous two Willems as theoretical Kaisers.

[5] To Willem, English and American accents sound awfully similar.

[6] There has been a small retcon here: Britain kept Saint-Pierre and Miquelon after the First Congress of Vienna.

[7] President Griffin is said to have remarked, “Let the Brazilians enjoy ruling the Indians.” Most of the plantations and European settlement were on the coast, and the interior was inhabited by hostile Indian tribes which the United States had no great use for.

[8] Another small retcon: Bismarck’s title is (and has been for some time) Reichskanzler (Reichs Chancellor) rather than Reichsminister.

[9] The leaders of Colombia and Venezuela viewed the Bogota Pact as a deterrent, wishing to avoid war with the United States at all, and they believed (correctly) that including Mexico in the pact would be more likely to provoke a declaration of war they wished to avoid.


Decades of Darkness #69: An American Miscellany

Population Data for the United States: 1870

Taken From “The United States In Expansion, 1850-1950: A Century of Triumph”

(c) 1952 By Harold Wittgenstein

Columbia Press: Columbia [Knoxville, Tennessee]

State Slave Non.[1] Ind. White Total

Alabama 359,929 0 0 458,090 818,019

Arkansas 125,391 0 0 259,220 384,611

Coahuila 85,108 29,795 12,262 221,815 348,980

Delaware 3,605 0 0 108,106 111,711

E. Florida 55,263 0 0 117,221 172,484

E. Texas 137,326 0 0 439,130 576,456

Georgia 545,722 0 0 806,492 1,352,214

Illinois 28,173 0 0 867,202 895,374

Indiana 22,803 0 0 830,135 852,938

Iowa 13,624 0 0 572,934 586,559

Jackson 48,003 0 0 75,146 123,148

Jefferson 115,582 0 0 420,191 535,773

Kansas 84,573 0 0 448,116 532,690

Kentucky 270,883 0 0 1,092,934 1,363,817

Louisiana 253,387 0 0 363,987 617,375

Maryland 108,483 0 0 603,857 712,340

Mississippi 316,438 0 0 350,497 666,935

Missouri 177,207 0 0 732,083 909,290

Nebraska 7,430 0 0 449,469 456,898

New Leon 143,760 74,685 127,144 181,543 527,132

N. California 36,038 8,025 21,117 617,086 682,266

N. Carolina 398,395 0 0 834,271 1,232,666

Ohio 2,492 0 0 2,754,002 2,756,494

Pennsylvania 3,392 0 0 2,378,426 2,381,818

S. Carolina 454,770 0 0 410,455 865,225

Tamaulipas 191,077 45,359 59,461 213,461 509,359

Tennessee 305,084 0 0 1,175,186 1,480,270

Virginia 551,570 0 0 1,389,994 1,941,564

Washington 145,990 0 0 493,658 639,648

W. Florida 339,385 0 0 466,208 805,593

W. Texas 51,590 14,651 1,339 88,926 156,507

Westylvania 2,227 0 0 1,049,135 1,051,362

Wilkinson 5,393 0 0 380,344 385,737

Total 5,390,093 172,516 221,324 21,419,320 27,433,253

Territory Slave Non.[1] Ind. White Total

Chihuahua 13,867 49,494 68,054 84,732 216,147

Colorado 899 0 4,536 65,522 70,957

Deseret 0 0 2,198 59,625 61,823

E. Cuba 173,607 22,621 0 253,803 450,031

Honduras 0 293,655 0 94,461 388,116

Idaho 251 0 0 34,933 35,814

Indian 4,980 0 60,931 54,117 120,027

Nevada 362 4,807 5,518 83,050 93,737

New Mexico 9,468 23,147 17,137 113,646 163,398

Nicaragua 120,246 345,228 0 142,624 608,098

N. Durango 89,697 5,417 4,936 84,683 184,733

Oregon 2,146 0 0 126,506 128,652

Potosi 25,807 288,399 120,166 97,099 531,471

Puerto Rico 209,891 302,041 0 156,437 668,369

Sinaloa 7,134 98,282 40,951 54,571 200,938

Sonora 7,824 28,306 48,187 68,242 152,558

S. California 3,746 555 10,445 12,991 27,737

S. Durango 70,633 111,331 46,388 62,833 291,185

Suriname 41,270 0 3,128 18,157 62,554

Tobasco 2,104 50,723 21,135 16,681 90,643

Veracruz 12,113 276,496 115,207 99,124 502,940

W. Cuba 424,722 192,422 0 405,296 1,022,440

Wyoming 356 0 0 30,700 31,056

Yucatan 89,463 119,897 397,357 85,857 692,575

Zacatecas 24,431 228,025 95,010 69,006 416,472

Caribbean Territory

District Slave Non.[1] Ind. White Total

Aruba 1,846 356 941 694 3,837

Bonaire 3,327 0 0 594 3,921

Curacao 17,345 0 0 3,321 20,666

Guadeloupe 87,712 0 0 92,358 180,070

Saba 1,737 0 0 401 2,138

Sint Eustatius 1,574 0 0 478 2,051

Sint Maarten 2,322 0 0 625 2,947

Virgin Islands 47,372 0 0 21,712 69,084

Total USA Slave Non.[1] Ind. White Total

6,888,344 2,613,718 1,283,548 24,144,197 34,929,807


Population Data for New England: 1870

Source: New England Bureau of Statistics

State Black White Total

Connecticut 6,835 688,485 695,320

Hudson 12,261 2,033,014 2,045,275

Maine 865 736,180 737,045

Massachusetts 5,639 1,634,534 1,640,173

Michigan 35,244 1,515,407 1,550,650

Long Island 18,683 1,205,841 1,224,524

New Brunswick 344 317,151 317,495

New Hampshire 1,529 392,821 394,350

New Jersey 25,989 835,948 861,937

Niagara 9,250 1,462,343 1,471,593

Nova Scotia 1,704 481,650 483,354

Rhode Island 2,268 236,245 238,513

Vermont 778 432,686 433,464

Total 121,389 11,972,303 12,093,692


Population Data for Canada: 1870

Source: New England Historical Archives, Hartford, Connecticut

Province Population

Quebec 1,253,955

Ontario 1,706,534

Wisconsin 1,096,555

British Columbia 95,237

Manitoba 33,448

Alaska 35,401

Northwest Terr. 94,886

Total 4,316,016


Population Data for British North America: 1870

Source: New England Historical Archives, Hartford, Connecticut

Province Population

Prince Edward Island 87,973

Newfoundland 149,386

Total 237,359


From “Abolitionist and Anti-Slavery Literature: A Review”

An undergraduate literature review by Solomon Agrippa (as he then was; later a general in the Freedom Legion)

Written in 1928 during his studies at Abraham Lincoln University, Wilkinston, Republic of Greater Liberia

Anti-slavery literature has a long tradition in North America, beginning with Marigold Stevens’ popular tract “Ordinary World”, describing what she believed would make an ideal world without slavery. This was followed by John Winston’s “Imagine I’m Not The Only One”, calling on abolitionists across the world to unite against slavery. Another influential author was the escaped former slave Douglas Henry [2], whose novel “Boys of Summer” depicted life being alternated between field and factory, while his sequel “Not Enough Love In The World” showed the interaction between the various peoples in bondage in Cuba and Tamaulipas. Even more poignant was David Ido’s “Life For Rent”, a haunting description of his life as a Virginian tobacco slave, eventually hired to Norfolk where he worked in a factory until he escaped on a ship to Liberia, where he penned this book, among others.

Perhaps the most influential anti-slavery epic of all time, however, is “Jaded Little Bill”, by Canadian author and abolitionist Alan Morris, published in 1895. The twelve meticulously detailed chapters record the story of a planter named “Bill Wright”, from early life through to adulthood and then his early death. Irony permeates every aspect of this novel. The first chapter, “All I Really Want”, describes his greedy childhood, while the second chapter, “You Ought To Know” showed what Morris believed most Canadians and New Englanders at the time did not know, namely the way planters lorded it over not only black slaves and bondsmen, but also lower-class whites. “Perfect” describes the story of his first love, a woman who he discovers to have Negro blood in her and who has to flee the United States. “Hands In My Pocket” describes how Bill temporarily took control of the plantation while his father was in military service in the Caribbean, and spends most of his time complaining about all the expenses, from war levies to the cost of overseers. The fifth, sixth and seventh chapters, “Right Thought You”, “Forgiven” and “You Learn” describe his university education, first as a strong-minded but ignorant youth then eventually as a law student, and how he denied education to his slaves and bonded labour, while “Mary Jane” reports his marriage to a wealthy belle, and the problems integrating their households. “Ironic” depicted his own military service and how he caught a sickness acquired from one of his new slaves, “Not The Doctor” reports how he refused the treatment of a freed former debt-slave from Veracruz who could have saved his life, while the final chapter, “Wake Up” depicts his supposed encounters after death in hell. The entire novel is rife with references to the cruelty of the institution of slavery and callousness of the planter class. It caused a storm of protest in the United States, with the Americans claiming that Morris had no understanding of what life in the country was actually like, but it was never forgotten in Canada and New England or, of course, Liberia.


Popular and Electoral Votes for President in 1866

From “1810-1910: A Century of New England Political History”

(c) 1912 by William H. Baldwin

Sandler Publishing Company, Long Island

The 1866 presidential elections marked one of the few occasions up to that time when the voters were completely unconcerned about the United States. The administration of President Myers had proven remarkably quiet and even friendly to New England, which attitude certainly strengthened the Republican vote. The apparent friendliness of the United States was also expected to weaken the Radical vote, since their anti-slavery message always received greater recognition when the United States itself looked unfriendly. There were more concerns over domestic issues, particularly the level of immigration, an issue which divided the nation. More than anything else, the election confirmed that, like Gaul, New England remained in partes tres in 1866.

The relative quietness of the party conventions matched the overall quiescence of the election. The Federalists almost unanimously selected Senator Horatio Seymour of Hudson for president, with Governor Connor Bates of Massachusetts for their vice-presidential candidate. The Republicans selected Vice-President William Seward, who had been elected from New York but now chose to represent Niagara [3], as their presidential candidate, and the always-entertaining Senator Phineas Barnum of Connecticut for their vice-presidential candidate. The Radicals considered the nomination of Thaddeus Stevens, but his age and increasingly strident anti-slavery rhetoric (even for a Radical) saw the delegates turn to younger men. Governor John Speed of Michigan, although not a New England native [4], represented an important state, had a distinguished military career, impeccable anti-slavery credentials, and could appeal to recent immigrants due to his own foreign birth. After some deliberation, Speed was chosen as presidential candidate, with William Harrison of New Hampshire chosen to stand for vice-president.

Popular Votes Electoral Votes

State Sey. Sew. Spe. Sey. Sew. Spe.

Connecticut 20,661 21,245 17,116 0 9 0

Hudson 126,191 90,599 106,777 25 0 0

Long Island 38,238 80,117 63,730 0 15 0

Maine 42,994 9,155 39,328 12 0 0

Massachusetts 98,062 35,643 14,874 21 0 0

Michigan 34,993 48,991 90,983 0 0 18

New Brunswick 20,040 7,322 11,176 3 0 0

New Hampshire 18,871 14,018 21,027 0 0 7

New Jersey 17,796 64,066 36,779 0 12 0

Niagara 48,819 131,811 63,464 0 20 0

Nova Scotia 34,441 11,282 13,657 8 0 0

Rhode Island 15,594 4,798 19,592 0 0 5

Vermont 14,734 18,172 16,208 0 7 0

Total 531,433 537,219 514,711 69 63 30

As was becoming commonplace by 1866, the election was referred to Congress. The calls for electoral reform were increased, including the abolition of the electoral college, but no party was yet prepared to initiate that step. Instead, the bargaining began in Congress. As with the previous election, the Radicals realised they could not win the election, and decided that they had more in common with the Republicans. Thus, William Seward became the first President of New England chosen to serve a six-year term...


23 May 1871

Dear Mr. President,

Please allow me to express my deepest condolences, and those of the American people, to you and the people of New England for your most tragic loss. Your late predecessor was a most admirable man, firmly adhering to his principles, and devout in his worship of the God whom we all serve. It is true that I have on occasion disagreed with the policies he set forth, but that never for one moment diminished my respect for the late President Seward as a good Christian man. He will be sorely missed not only by the people of his own country, but by the people of the United States as well. Though it is given to no man to judge what is rightly our Lord’s province, I believe with all my heart that Mr Seward has been found worthy of admittance to Heaven, there to be with Almighty God for all eternity.

It was a most heavy burden he bore, that of chief executive of his nation, and one which inevitably takes a toll on all those who serve in it, as I have discovered first-hand. I have no doubt that his life would have been eased and his days on this world lengthened had he not faced the pressures of this office, but he judged service to his nation as worth more than his own life, and thus he continued in his position for all the days of his life. It needs a man of much vigour and devotion to serve in this office, and I wish you and New England good fortune in your new office. If there is anything I or the United States can do to assist New England as you mourn him, you need only ask, and it shall be done.

Your obedient servant,

(signed) Hugh Griffin


[1] i.e. non-citizens, all those who fell into the categories of peon, debt-slave, or just don’t have a categorisation yet.

[2] The closest character TTL has to Frederick Douglass.

[3] Although born in Orange County, which was part of Hudson state, Seward had resided in Buffalo for several years.

[4] John Speed is an ATL ‘brother’ of James Speed, who was born in Kentucky and who was Attorney General under Lincoln and Johnson in OTL. John Speed was also born in Kentucky ITTL and had similar anti-slavery views, but had a more militaristic inclination and emigrated to Michigan after the War of 1833. He joined the New England Navy, initially on the Great Lakes, and earned some recognition as one of the leading commanders during the naval war against Russia.


Decades of Darkness Interlude #1: Gazing Into The Crystal Ball

Taken from:

Federal Intelligence Agency: The World Factbook – Australia (1953 edition)


Australia became a kingdom within the British Empire in 1882. It was able to take advantage of its vast natural resources to develop first its agricultural, then mining and manufacturing industries. Long-term concerns include water availability, management and conservation of the natural resources, especially the Great Barrier Reef and other coastal areas. Australia is the home of the terramicitian [1] movement.


Location: Oceania, continent between the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean

Area (including inland water): 8,888,080 sq km

Note: includes insular provinces but not colonies, dependencies, or polar claims

Land boundaries: 0 km

Maritime claims: territorial sea 24 NM

Climate: generally arid to semiarid; temperate in south and east; tropical in north

Terrain: mainland mostly low plateau with deserts, fertile plain in southeast; mountainous jungle in northern islands, temperate in eastern and southern islands

Elevation extremes:

Lowest point: Lake Winchester –15 m

Highest point: Mt Wilberforce 5,030 m

Natural resources: bauxite, coal, iron ore, copper, tin, gold, silver, uranium, nickel, chrome, cobalt, manganese, tungsten, limestone, mineral sands, lead, zinc, diamonds, natural gas, petroleum, timber, hydropower (insular provinces), fisheries

Land use: arable land: 6.91%

permanent crops: 0.05%

other: 93.04%

Natural hazards: cyclones along the coast; severe droughts; forest fires, vulcanism, earthquakes

Environment - current issues: soil erosion from overgrazing, industrial development, urbanisation, and poor farming practices; soil salinity rising due to the use of poor quality water; desertification; clearing for agricultural purposes threatens the natural habitat of many unique animal and plant species; the Great Barrier Reef off the northeast coast of the mainland, the largest coral reef in the world, is threatened by increased shipping; limited natural fresh water resources.


Population: 53,731,984 (July 1952 est.)

Nationality: noun: Australian(s)

adjective: Australian

Racial groups: White 73%, Asian 12%, East Indian 10%, Native and other 5%

Religions: Roman Catholic 35%, Anglican 24%, Other Christian 21.3%, Hindu 8%, other and no religion 11.7%.

Languages: English, French (New Caledonia and New Hebrides), Portuguese (Timor), native languages

Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 100%

male: 100%

female: 100%


Country name:

Conventional long form: Kingdom of Australia

Conventional short form: Australia

Government type: democratic, parliamentary monarchy

Note: The monarch of Australia is also sovereign of the RESTORED EMPIRE, but within Australia’s jurisdiction functions only as a monarch.

Capital: Nowra

Administrative divisions (excluding dependencies): 9 provinces and 4 territories*; Kingsland, Macquarie, New Caledonia*, New Guinea, New Hebrides*, New South Wales, New Zealand, Northern Australia, Solomon Islands*, South Australia, Tasmania, Timor*, West Australia.

Independence: 26 January 1882 (federation of UK colonies into Kingdom status)

National holiday: Australia Day, 26 January (1788)

Legal system: based on English common law

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory

Executive branch: Chief of state: King of Australia ALEXANDER I (since 16 February 1942)

Head of government: Prime Minister Sir Anthony William HAWKINS (since 15 April 1948), Deputy Prime Minister Richard David LEE (since 15 April 1948)

Cabinet: Parliament nominates and selects, from among its members, a list of candidates to serve as government ministers; from this list, the monarch swears in the final selections for the Cabinet

Elections: no executive elections; the monarch is hereditary; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or leader of a majority coalition is sworn in as prime minister by the monarch

Note: government coalition - National Party and Australia First Party

Legislative branch:

Bicameral Federal Parliament consists of the House of Lords (9 Lords of Session; 12 members appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the Prime Minister who serve until the next general election; and a varying number of life peers, currently 216) and the Legislative Assembly (130 seats - members elected by popular vote on the basis of preferential representation to serve four-year terms; no province can have fewer than four representatives).

Elections: House of Lords – none.

Legislative Assembly - last held 10 November 1951 (next to be held by 10 November 1955)

Election results: Legislative Assembly: National-Australia First coalition 76; Christian Socialists 44; Earth Friends 3; Country Party 2; Liberal Party 2, speaker and independents 3.

Judicial branch:

House of Lords (appellate functions only; heard by the Lords of Session); High Court of Australia (the chief justice and eight other justices are appointed by the monarch). Appeals are also sometimes heard by the Imperial House of Lords.

Political parties and leaders: Australia First [Richard David LEE], Australian Republicans [Andrew HAWKE], Christian Socialists [Percy KELVIN], Country Party [Michael BLUNT], Earth Friends [Miriam O’CONNELL], Liberal Party [John CHURCHILL], National Party [Sir Anthony William HAWKINS], Pacific Liberty [Father Sir David Kemakeza].

International organisation participation: Council of Nations (founding member), International Police Commission.

Diplomatic representation in the USA: none; official diplomatic representation has been withdrawn since 1947. Unofficial representation is conducted through both nations’ ambassadors to the Council of Nations.

Flag description: yellow half-disc on a black background in the upper hoist-side quadrant, red with a ten pointed star (white outline, blue centre) in the lower hoist-side quadrant, known as the Federation Star, with 7 points representing the original seven provinces, one point representing the territories, one point representing the monarch, and one point representing the British Empire (as it then was). The remaining half is a representation of the Southern Cross constellation in blue and white, with one small five-pointed star and four larger seven-pointed stars.

Note: the Australian flag formerly included a representation of the flag of the United Kingdom in the upper hoist-side quadrant, but this has been replaced on the Australian flag. It is retained in the naval ensign, which has colours reversed (red for blue, and vice versa) in the other three quadrants of the flag.


Economy - overview: Australia has a prosperous capitalist economy with one of the highest per capita incomes in the world. Rising output in the domestic economy has offset the slump in Australia’s former largest trading partner, Nippon. Government policy for the previous two decades has emphasised independence in strategic resources, including the development of non-petroleum based fuels and infrastructure, a trend which has been further enhanced by the influence of the terramicitian movement. Australia is the world’s leading consumer of ethanol and methanol fuels. Australia has seen a rapidly growing economy fuelled by large immigration growth. However, the economy remains vulnerable to ecological conditions, particularly recurrent droughts.

Labor force: 29.8 million (1951 est.)

Unemployment rate: 3.1% (1952)

Currency: Australian pound

Fiscal year: 1 July - 30 June


Military branches: Australian Army, Royal Navy, Royal Sky Force, Strategic Deployment Force

Military manpower - military age: 17 years of age (1952 est.)

Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 16,119,515 (1952 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service: males age 15-49: 15,339,011 (1952 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually: males: 469,844 (1952 est.)


[1] TTL’s version of environmentalism.


Decades of Darkness #70: Rayne In Spain

Taken from: “The Rayne Diaries: The Life of New England’s First Great Spy”

(c) Professor Lester Kilcher, 1948

Harvard University Press

Massachusetts, New England

From the blurb:

Timothy Rayne was New England’s first master-spy, one of the first agents of the infant DFS [1], whose career in this agency was to become legendary. Recruited into the DFS soon after its formation, Rayne had a short-lived but spectacular intelligence career in Cuba, the Sandwich Islands and Spain, among other places. Rayne kept detailed diaries of his activities, something disapproved of by his officers, but which offer a unique insight into the early history of the New England intelligence services. Rayne’s diaries were acquired after his death by his Spanish mistress, and recently tracked down and published. The diaries have been edited and annotated by Professor Kilcher, Head of the Harvard School of Foreign Affairs, whose key research areas include nineteenth-century North American history and international relations during the second wave colonial period.


The Rayne diaries are a rare opportunity to view the development of New England’s intelligence services, whose activities are so unfathomable today. Published without any government editing or retention [2], they describe many of Rayne’s activities...

12 March 1865

Rather a strange meeting today. I had been offered a meeting with a Mr. Henry Laws, the rather appropriately named man from the attorney general’s office. I had thought that was rather strange, since I had been expecting a visit from someone in the State Department, but I would hardly turn down an invitation to anyone from the federal government.

Henry Laws turned out to be a rather pleasant fellow, if unusual. He introduced himself as “Cabinet minister without portfolio,” a title which begged all sorts of questions. Cabinet minister? What was anyone ranked in the cabinet doing operating out of an obscure office within the attorney-general’s office? I didn’t get any chance to ask them, though.

Laws said, “Mr. Rayne, what I’m about to describe to you is rather unorthodox, but involves the well-being of New England. And there is a condition of me telling you about it. Before I go any further, I’ll have your promise that you won’t reveal it to anyone outside of our organisation without explicit permission. If you don’t want to hear me out, then the door is but a few steps away.”

Now that certainly got my interest. I’ve never been one to back away from a challenge, but this sounded rather more ominous. Especially coming from someone in this office. Laws was too gentlemanly to say it explicitly, but I didn’t need to hear the words to make me suspect that there would a charge of treason or something similarly horrifying if I revealed what I heard. But I was happy to give my promise, and he explained some more.

Laws said, “We’ve recently gotten permission from the Cabinet [3] to set up a new department, responsible for overseeing all... information we obtain from foreign powers, especially unfriendly powers.”

“You mean you’re organising all New England’s spies?” I asked.

Laws looked unsettled at my bluntness, but he nodded. “In essence, yes. Are you interested in joining?”

“Of course I am.” I didn’t know then – and I still don’t know now – what’s involved, but something like this sounds like just the kind of thing I could do well in.

12 March 1867

Talk about disaster! Two years to the day after I joined the Department, and I have to write the story of how I came far, far too close to losing my life – and I only just got back to home. And also to betraying New England’s involvement in the Americans’ strife in Cuba. By rights, I shouldn’t even have been on the Jupiter when it was shipping that consignment of muskets to the Cuban rebels. My orders had been explicitly clear: coordinate the shipments to Haiti, and then let the locals handle the rest. But while in Haiti, I met our local contact, a Portuguese man who answered only to Alberto, and I couldn’t quite believe that he was genuine. The man dressed like he was about to go to a ball! So I felt I had to accompany him to make sure he was going to deliver the guns, rather than take the money and throw them over the side once we had gone.

That was my first mistake. My second was actually going ashore onto Cuba. I still felt I needed to keep an eye on Alberto. As it turned out, I should have been worried about the Americans. They were waiting for us there on the beach. I’m not the kind of hero who wants to get himself killed for nothing, so I just crouched down and waited for them to capture us. Bad though the Americans are, they don’t usually shoot white men in cold blood, so I expected I would be caught, and then I could figure out what to do with myself later. Alberto hit the ground too, but he managed to do it without getting his clothes badly mussed either. The blacks with us opened fire, though. The Cubans called the Americans chacals, and many of them preferred death to capture. Those who didn’t, and the Haitians, were rounded up afterwards. I didn’t see what happened to them, and that’s probably just as well, since I doubt it was good. The Americans sent me and Alberto to their military camp and there to face military justice. They were surprisingly lenient, giving me only a stiff fine which was quietly paid for by the New England consulate, and thus I made it back here. I’d better make sure I avoid Cuba from here on in, though... and I won’t travel under the name of Richard Wood any more either. (Editor’s note: I believe that Rayne received such favourable treatment because the United States wanted to place maximum pressure on New England to stop gun-running, and it was thought that any severe treatment of him, although legally justifiable, would be more likely to encourage further smuggling.)

15 February 1868

A new assignment here, and one which brings me back to the United States. As most of my requirements have been to date, of course, and I expect they will continue to be. No other nation can pose such a threat to New England as the Americans. While they have been friendly to us for the last few years, we have to be ready in case they ever change their minds. And this journey is itself a reminder of how much the world has changed. I entered the United States in New Orleans, since they keep too close a watch on people who come through Pennsylvania or Ohio, but this Central Pacific railroad which I am currently riding stretches from sea to shining sea [4]. It takes only a few days journey from New Orleans to San Francisco in North California, where it would have taken months beforehand. This will greatly strengthen the United States – I’ll have to mention back home that we need a transcontinental railroad of our own to join Canada and New England from sea to sea as well.

22 February 1868

All that we feared about the Americans is true. The Cubans were right: the Americans are jackals. Not happy just gobbling nations in the Caribbean and Central America, they want to conquer further west too. This Mr. Quigley speaks too loudly and to the wrong people. No time to return to New England now; the telegraph will have to suffice for that. I’ll have to go to the Sandwich Islands myself: nothing else will do.

6 June 1868

Good riddance, is all I can say. Mr. “Call Me Colonel” Quigley, head of a bunch of American freebooters, jackals and all-round yahoos, is dead. Executed as he deserved. He did have some memorable quotes, I’ll give him that much. When someone asked him why his magnificent American race couldn’t conquer these islands from a bunch of half-breeds and natives, all he said was, “Man shall not live by pineapples alone.” (Editor’s note: One of the side-effects of this filibuster was that one of the surviving Americans acquired a taste for pineapples and decided to set up a plantation in Nicaragua.) And I’m not likely to forget his last words. “Give me not the hangman’s noose, but find for me an executioner’s sword. Cut off my head then bury me here, that my grave shall be watered by a martyr’s blood.” He can be as defiant as he likes, as long as he’s dead.

3 May 1869

I can’t go back into the United States again, apparently. Thus saith Henry Laws. Oh well, Laws has given, and Laws has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Laws. I’ve been given a posting in the diplomatic service assisting the minister to Spain, which will be a challenge given that Spain has apparently been in a state of civil war for most of the last ten years. Maybe we should just send a minister to each side and have done with it.

6 November 1869

I have never seen a more confused country. The Spanish are wonderful people, but they have an amazing ability to dispute everything. Spain isn’t a country, it’s an argument. The royalists who support Isabella [5] fight with the other royalists who support Duke Carlos [6], and the republicans fight everyone. These days most foreign governments, including ours, recognise Isabella as Queen of Spain, but I suspect they’re getting sick of the whole mess. There was some talk that France might intervene a few years ago, but the French Emperor seems to have thought better of it, or maybe he just couldn’t get the support he wanted.

4 March 1870

This civil war looks like it will go on forever. The Carlists have just had a victory in the north, seizing Barcelona. That will cause problems for the republicans, but it will make things worse for our cause here. The worst part is, there’s not much I can actually do. I can give all sorts of intelligence about what we’re doing here, but it won’t help much unless I can tell them who’s going to win the war. Unless I can investigate what the French are doing...

13 March 1870

So, now it all becomes clear. Napoleon III of France is going to intervene in Spain. He may long regret this day. I would welcome the arrival of peace to Spain, but I fear that France will only bring more war. If the evidence of their plans were to reach Britain, would that change anything?

(Editor’s note: A week later, Rayne was killed during the republican uprising in Madrid.)


Extracts taken from “The Compleat Textbook Series: Modern European History”

By J. Edward Fowler (Principal Author)

Sydney, Kingdom of Australia.

(c) 1948 Eagle Publishing Company: Sydney. Used with permission.

The Congress of Versailles

This congress was called in 1872 in France to discuss an end to the Spanish Civil War, which is usually described as lasting from 1863-1872, although this incorporates both the restoration of Isabella II and then the Carlist uprising. The main powers represented were France, Great Britain, both Spanish royalist factions, and Portugal. Germany sent representatives to the congress, but had no firm stake in the outcome. Some of the parties were keen to dismember Spain into many parts, and distribute its colonies. The British sought to create a united Spain under Miguel of the Braganza dynasty, but this was resisted by all other parties. The eventual compromise was to grant the main northern and eastern Carlist territories to Duke Carlos, but Britain’s support ensured that most of the Spanish colonial empire in the North Pacific [7] remained intact under Felipe VI, the son of Isabella II.

The main territorial changes were the reformation of the kingdom of Aragon for Duke Carlos, including Navarre, the Vascondagas provinces, Aragon, Catalonia, and Valencia. Napoleon III was keen to acquire part of metropolitan Spain for France, but eventually settled for the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands, full annexation of Andorra, and Trinidad. Portugal also acquired Galizia and the disputed Olivença region. For the time being, Spain was at peace, although factions in both Spain and Aragon continued to seek a reunited nation...


[1] DFS is an acronym for Department of Foreign Security, one of New England’s two main intelligence agencies. It was formed in 1865. The DFS is mainly responsible for diplomatic, political and economic intelligence. Its sister and sometimes-rival agency, the euphemistically-named Technical Classification Board (TCB), is responsible for military and technological intelligence.

[2] i.e. without the withholding of sections deemed classified or inappropriate for public knowledge.

[3] i.e. from the President.

[4] The Central Pacific, with a route similar to the OTL Southern Pacific, was completed in 1866. Without the distraction of the American Civil War, more resources were placed into completing a transcontinental railroad a couple of years ahead of OTL, and the preferred route was a southern one, given the more generally southern focus of the *United States.

[5] Not the same Isabella, personality-wise, as OTL, but royalty tends to stick with the same names...

[6] Another post-POD character with the same name, but who is considerably more militarily competent than his OTL counterpart.

[7] Viz, the Philippines and Guam.


Decades of Darkness Interlude #2: Bride of the Emerald Aisle

Taken from:

Federal Intelligence Agency: The World Factbook – Ireland (1953 edition)


Inhabited since prehistoric times, Celtic tribes occupied the island in the 4th century before the Christian era. Invasions by Scandinavians began in the 8th century and were halted by King Brian BORU who defeated a Danish-Norwegian invasion in 1014. Invaded again in the 12th century by the English, which set off seven centuries of Anglo-Irish struggle marked by continual rebellions and harsh counter-revolutions. Ireland suffered a series of potato famines in the 19th century, halving the island’s population. Ireland became a kingdom within the British Empire in 1862, and gradually developed political and economic independence since that time. Ireland experienced a number of rebellions during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but these failed to find popular support, particularly the most recent ‘Dublin Rebellion’ of 1922. Ireland today is notable as a neutral nation and way-station for commercial and political contacts between North America and Europe.


Location: Western Europe, island in the North Atlantic Ocean, west of Great Britain

Area (including inland water): 81,373 sq km

Area - comparative: slightly smaller than South Carolina

Land boundaries: none

Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 NM

Climate: temperate maritime; modified by North Atlantic Current; mild winters, cool summers; consistently humid; overcast about half the time

Terrain: mostly level to rolling interior plain surrounded by rugged hills and low mountains; sea cliffs on west coast

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m

highest point: Carrauntoohil 1,041 m

Natural resources: zinc, lead, natural gas, barite, copper, gypsum, limestone, dolomite, peat, silver

Land use: arable land: 20.06%

permanent crops: 0.05%

other: 79.94%

Environment - current issues: water pollution

Geography - note: strategic location on major sky and sea routes between North America and northern Europe.


Population: 4,687,145 (June 1952 est.)

Nationality: noun: Irishman (men), Irishwoman (women), Irish (collective plural)

adjective: Irish

Racial groups: Celtic, English

Religions: Roman Catholic 73.2%, Protestant 20.4%, other 6.4%.

Languages: English (official), Irish Gaelic (official), Ullans. English is the language most widely used, Irish is spoken in some areas along the western seaboard, Ullans is spoken in parts of the province of Ulster.

Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 99%

male: 99%

female: 99%


Country name:

Conventional long form: Kingdom of Ireland

Conventional short form: Ireland

Government type: democratic, parliamentary monarchy

Note: As a member kingdom of the RESTORED EMPIRE, foreign affairs, defence and some legal appeals are under the theoretical control of the imperial government, but in practice Ireland pursues an independent foreign policy and controls its own military expenditure.

Capital: Dublin

Administrative divisions: 32 counties; Antrim, Armagh, Carlow, Cavan, Clare, Cork, Donegal, Down, Dublin, Fermanagh, Galway, Kerry, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Leitrim, Limerick, Londonderry, Longford, Louth, Mayo, Meath, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo, Tipperary, Tyrone, Waterford, Westmeath, Wexford, Wicklow.

Independence: 14 June 1862 (from United Kingdom)

National holiday: Saint Patrick's Day, 17 March

Legal system: based on English common law, substantially modified by indigenous concepts.

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch: Chief of state: Queen of Ireland BRIGID I (since 4 May 1934)

Head of government: Prime Minister Dame Mary BLUNDELL (since 17 June 1951)

Cabinet: appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the prime minister after approval from the House of Commons

Elections: none, the monarch is hereditary

Legislative branch:

Bicameral Parliament consists of the House of Lords (consists of 32 hereditary peers, 7 Lords of Session, 4 ecclesiastical peers [1] and a varying number of life peers, currently 104) and the House of Commons (201 members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms unless the House is dissolved earlier).

Elections: House of Lords – none.

House of Commons: last held 17 June 1951 (next to be held by 17 June 1956)

Election results: House of Commons: Aontacht [Unity] 107, Social Democrats 82, Earth Friends 6, Ulster Republicans 4, other 2.

Judicial branch:

House of Lords (highest court of appeal; Lords of Session are appointed by the monarch for life); Supreme Court of Ireland.

Note: legal appeals can also be pursued to the Imperial government, either to the Imperial House of Lords or, rarely, the Privy Council.

International organisation participation: Council of Nations (founding member), Greater European Economic Union (associate member), International Police Commission.

Note: only nation to be both part of the RESTORED EMPIRE and a member of the GEEU.

Diplomatic representation in the USA: Chief of Mission: Ambassador Oscar SHAW

Diplomatic representation from the USA: Chief of Mission Ambassador George STEELE

Flag description: red diagonal cross (St Patrick’s cross) on a dark green background, with a golden harp at the intersection of the cross.


Economy - overview: Ireland is a small, trade-dependent economy. The nation is a major trans-shipment point for many goods between Europe and North America. Agriculture, once the primary economic sector, has been replaced by industry. Exports remain the primary driver for economic growth, and Ireland is thus vulnerable to global conditions, and particularly to any fluctuations in European demand.

Labor force: 2.16 million (1951 est.)

Unemployment rate: 5.7% (1952)

Currency: Irish pound

Fiscal year: 1 July - 30 June


Military branches: Irish Army, Royal Irish Navy, Royal Irish Sky Corps, Royal Irish Constabulary

Military manpower - military age: 17 years of age (1952 est.)

Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 1,218,545 (1952 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service: males age 15-49: 1,187,331 (1952 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually: males: 37,459 (1952 est.)


[1] Two Catholic Archbishops, (Armagh and Dublin), Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin, and Lord Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.


Decades of Darkness #71: Eye of the Griffin

Excerpts from the Independence Day Address of President Hugh Griffin, delivered in Philadelphia on 4 July 1876, the centenary of American independence

“One hundred years ago, with the ringing of this beloved Liberty Bell [1], our forefathers proclaimed to the peoples of the world the birth of a new nation, a nation like unto none other ever delivered by the midwife of history. A republic conceived in liberty, where the authority of the government rests on the consent of the governed.

“My fellow Americans, how we stand unique amidst the nations of this earth. From the farthermost frozen steppes of Russia to the mist-clad peat bogs of Ireland, the Old World is ruled still by monarchs who claim sway by their so-called ‘right of birth’. From the Pacific to the Atlantic, a blood curtain hangs still over Europe, which only the dawn of revolution can lift.

“Even in our New World, only we Americans are blessed with a true republic. Witness the fate which has befallen that misbegotten child of America, which calls itself the Republic of New England. From that unseemly birth were shaped two new nations. One was the United States of America, which from the despair of separation forged a new purpose, a national will which she has possessed after. The other was New England. Their chief executive has made of his presidency the greatest show on earth, but every day he rules is a triumph only to the will of the King of England, who has already planted down the roots of his family on the soil of our New World.

“Elsewhere in the Americas, nations have declared themselves republics, but in this essential they have failed: the authority of their governments rests not on the consent of the governed, but on the assent of the generals. Only last month we received word of a new general has seized the reins of Mexico’s runaway carriage of state. Nor should we forget the anarchies which were miscalled the governments of Nicaragua or Honduras before we restored stability to those nations. Whereas here in our own United States, great generals have indeed assumed the leadership of our nations, but they have done so from the consent of the governed, and they have departed again when that consent was removed. Only in America, out of all the world, is there a true republic.

“In this last century, we have seen indeed the testing of that republic. We have witness the tribulation of the United States, the scourging, and the growth amidst punishment. In these last hundred years, we saw the seasons turn many times. In the Revolution and the leadership of General Washington, our nation saw spring, then only a brief Louisiana summer before the chill of winter descended on us in 1811. After this, came a new spring under Wilkinson, another too brief summer under Jackson, before we saw fall under Mangum and the greatest sorrow of winter with the fall of our beloved President Davis. In these last few years the United States has seen the growth of a new spring. Now a new century beckons before us, a century where the natural strength of the American race will prevail. When the scholars a hundred years from now come to write down the tale of our nation, to set down in pen and ink a measure of our worth, they shall say of the next century that this was the century of summer.”


Popular and Electoral Votes for President in 1878

From “1810-1910: A Century of New England Political History”

(c) 1912 by William H. Baldwin

Sandler Publishing Company, Long Island

The 1878 presidential elections were a relatively demure campaign, with none of the showmanship and ceremony which had marked President Barnum’s terms in office. As with the previous two elections, domestic issues were of gravest concern; relations with the United States had been cordial for some time, particularly since the repudiation of the filibusters in the Sandwich Islands.

The Federalists selected Arthur Strong, Governor of Massachusetts for their presidential candidate, and in a bid to appeal to the growing immigrant votes in New England, settled on the Irish-born but suitably aristocratic Charles Hastings Doyle of Nova Scotia for their vice-presidential candidate. The Republican convention was acrimonious; with sitting Vice-President Dwight Parker of New Jersey deemed as lacking Barnum’s charisma, the delegates settled on money instead, selecting William Vanderbilt of Long Island for their presidential candidate, leaving Parker again to seek the vice-presidential office. The Radical convention was the most heated of the three, with the dispute between the ‘moderate’ and ‘active’ factions over how extreme their platform should be. Eventually, the ‘active’ delegates carried the day, selecting Governor John Adams IV of Michigan as their presidential candidate, relegating the more moderate Senator Peter Vancouver of Hudson for their vice-presidential candidate.

The campaigning highlighted the differences between the two more extreme parties, with the Federalists emphasising the value of good government [2], Protestantism, nativism, and good relations with the United Kingdom and Canada. The Radicals emphasised religious tolerance, increased immigration, and the extension of the franchise. After some equivocation, Adams settled on a direct campaign for the abolition of property qualifications for voting (which at this time were still extant in Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut and Vermont), and for granting citizenship for all residents of New England after only three years of residency, instead of the existing seven-year limit. Some of the Radicals called for the extension of the franchise to all men, regardless of race, but this proved too extreme even for Adams. With this debate, Vanderbilt found himself caught in the middle, trying to pursue a moderate path, but the only key policy difference he could advocate was closer commercial relationships with the United States, a policy which won few votes outside of Long Island and the border states. In former elections, the Republicans had gained the support of most of the leading capitalists, but many of these had leant their support to the Federalists, particularly in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire...

Popular Votes Electoral Votes

State Str. Van. Ada. Str. Van. Ada.

Connecticut 24,995 21,960 28,779 0 0 10

Hudson 118,918 64,036 121,998 0 0 26

Long Island 50,645 106,355 96,226 0 16 0

Maine 44,981 4,792 45,931 0 0 11

Massachusetts 142,368 42,482 27,640 21 0 0

Michigan 57,282 65,466 150,025 0 0 20

New Brunswick 23,533 7,104 13,764 6 0 0

New Hampshire 22,626 13,199 27,026 0 0 7

New Jersey 25,413 77,827 55,591 0 12 0

Niagara 48,257 103,095 67,999 0 19 0

Nova Scotia 37,761 11,463 18,206 8 0 0

Rhode Island 16,537 4,725 25,987 0 0 5

Vermont 17,567 20,596 22,413 0 0 7

Total 630,884 543,099 701,584 35 47 86

With the electoral returns, it became clear that for the first time since 1854, a presidential election had been won without being referred to Congress. It also marked a substantial collapse in the Republican vote, even more surprising since the last President had been from that party, but indicative that the three-party system of New England might yet reduce to only two parties...


Selected Important Dates in North American History: 1866-1880

Taken from “The Compleat Textbook Series: Early American History”

By J. Edward Fowler (Principal Author)

Sydney, Kingdom of Australia.

(c) 1948 Eagle Publishing Company: Sydney. Used with permission


Completion of the Central Pacific Railroad linking San Francisco, North California to New Orleans, Louisiana, via El Paso, New Mexico.

Rebellions in Canada’s northwest, leading to King James I dissolving the Wisconsin Parliament and creating new governments in Wisconsin and the new province of Manitoba.

Gold discovered in North California and in the Black Hills, leading to major gold rushes in North California across the newly-opened Central Pacific Railroad.

Richard Brady King of Concord, New Hampshire, patents a design for a new “horseless steam carriage”, which in popular lingo is soon shortened to “horstcar”. The first horstcars go on sale to the public in the following year.


Puerto Rico Territory is separated from the Caribbean Territory, in explicit recognition of its preparation for statehood.

William Seward (Niagara), Republican, inaugurated as 15th President of New England. Phineas Barnum (Connecticut), Republican, inaugurated as Vice-President.

Colt Holdings begins to manufacture the Hoover Gun, the first successful cylinder gun [3]. The Hoover Gun combined reliability and ease of use with a high rate of fire.


Colonel William Quigley leads a filibuster expedition from San Francisco, North California to the Sandwich Islands. The filibuster is defeated and Quigley executed by the natives.

New Leon admitted as the 32nd state in the Union.

Hugh Griffin (Illinois), Patriot, elected as 13th President of the United States.

“Timothy Pickering”, the first of a new class of steam-powered ‘mastless’ ironclads, launched in Boston, NE.


Nebraska [most of OTL Nebraska and South Dakota] admitted as the 33rd state in the Union.

Honduras annexed to the United States on request of its government.

United States purchases Suriname and the Dutch Antilles (Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, Sint Eustatius and Sint Maarten) from the Netherlands. The Dutch Antilles are added to the Caribbean Territory; Suriname is established as its own territory.

“Thunderbolt”, the first of a new British class of mastless ironclads, launched in Portsmouth, UK [4].


The Cuban emergency declared over and most troops are withdrawn, although occasional insurrections continue for several more years.

U.S. President Hugh Griffin calls for a canal to be built in Nicaragua, connecting the Atlantic to the Pacific. The Universal Canal Company, half-owned by the U.S. government and half by a variety of foreign investors (mostly British and French) is formed to build the canal. UCC engineers begin surveying the route.

“Illinois”, the first American-made mastless ironclad, launched in Baltimore, USA.


Canal War fought in Costa Rica between government forces and U.S.-backed rebels. The new Costa Rican government cedes a strip of territory along the San Juan River to the USA.

Construction of the first phase of the Nicaragua Canal (along the San Juan River) commences.

Chihuahua admitted as the 34th state in the Union.

N.E. President William Seward dies in office, the first chief executive of New England to do so. Phineas Barnum becomes the 16th President of New England.


Nicaragua admitted as the 35th state in the Union.

Yucatan admitted as the 36th state in the Union.

Phineas Barnum elected as President of New England, the only sitting President ever to win election to that office.

Hugh Griffin (Illinois), Patriot, re-elected as 13th President of the United States.


Completion of the Northern Pacific Railroad, linking Sacramento, North California, to Omaha, Nebraska.


West Cuba admitted as the 37th state in the Union.

The United States makes the Caribbean Purchase, buying French Guiana, Trinidad, Tobago and Martinique from France. Trinidad, Tobago and Martinique are added to the Caribbean Territory. The inland portions of French Guiana and Suriname are sold to Brazil in exchange for trade concessions and a formal military alliance with the United States.


North Durango admitted as the 38th state in the Union.

Completion of the Southern Pacific Railroad, linking Mazatlán, Sinaloa to Tampico, Tamaulipas.

William Leland (Virginia), Democrat, elected as 14th President of the United States, after outgoing President Hugh Griffin refuses to stand for a third term.


Veracruz admitted as the 39th state in the Union.

Puerto Rico admitted as the 40th state in the Union.

Formation of the Bogota Pact between the United Kingdom, Colombia, Venezuela and Costa Rica.

“Achilles”, the first breech-loading mastless ironclad, launched in New York.


East Cuba admitted as the 41st state in the Union.

Sonora admitted as the 42nd state in the Union.

“Titan”, a breech-loading four-gun mastless ironclad, launched in Portsmouth, UK [5].


Honduras admitted as the 43rd state in the Union.

Colorado admitted as the 44th state in the Union.

Sinaloa admitted as the 45th state in the Union.

John Adams IV (Michigan), Radical, inaugurated as 17th President of New England. Peter Vancouver (Hudson), Radical, inaugurated as Vice-President.

“Jefferson”, the first U.S. equivalent to the Achilles-class, is launched in Puerto Veracruz.


South Durango admitted as the 46th state in the Union.

First ship completes voyage from Atlantic to Pacific via the Nicaragua Canal, although the Canal will not be officially opened until the following year.


[1] Yes, I know the Liberty Bell had nothing to do with the Declaration of Independence. So, for that matter, did Hugh Griffin, but it didn’t stop him making the comparison in a speech.

[2] i.e. aristocratic

[3] machine gun

[4] This class is equivalent to the OTL Devastation-class ironclads, and somewhat superior to both the New Englander and American ironclads.

[5] This class is slightly superior to the Colossus-class of OTL.


Decades of Darkness #72: La Gloire

Taken from: “Napoleon III: Idealist, Nationalist or Opportunist?”

(c) 1948 by Field Marshal Henri Pierre Gascoyne (ret.)

Revival Press: Adelaide, Australia

“Imagination governs the world, but morals give it purpose.”

- Attributed to Charles Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, Napoleon III

Much has been written about the third Napoleon to rule France. To many students of French history, he represents the epitome of the Bonapartes: idealistic, nationalistic, stubborn, but also proud, vainglorious and with no notion of when to stop. To a degree, his achievements have been overshadowed by the fame of his celebrated son and even more by his uncle, but he remains an impressive figure of French history, leading the nation for two decades. And whatever else may be said about him, he was the only one of the Napoleons to finish his life at the head of France.


Extract from: The Encyclopaedia Recidivus (3rd edition)

Editor-in-chief Lord Percy Kelvin III

(c) 1949 New Cambridge University Press

Sydney, Kingdom of Australia

Used with permission.


Charles Louis Napoleon Bonaparte (Napoleon III). Son of Louis Bonaparte (see under Bonaparte, family), King of Holland.

Born 20 April 1808; Paris, France.

Died 14 July 1876; Paris, France.

President of French Second Republic (1853-1854)

Emperor of France (1854-1876).

Early Life:

The nephew of Napoleon I, Louis Napoleon spent his youth with his mother, Hortense de Beauharnais, in Switzerland (as it then was) and the Netherlands, becoming a captain in the Dutch army. In 1830 he abandoned the Netherlands in disgust over the suppression of the failed Belgian revolution. Animated by a mixture of liberalism, nationalism and Bonapartism, he indulged in revolutionary activities in Italy (1831-1832), before returning to France and becoming involved in an abortive plot to overthrow Charles X in 1833. He found it discreet to leave France after that plot was defeated, and arrived in Britain shortly before the French joined the War of 1833. He maintained a discreet silence about his thoughts regarding that war, but returned to France again after the December Revolution brought Louis Philippe to the throne. He seems to have been a genuine believer in the liberal sentiments expressed during that revolution, but he soon became disenchanted again. In 1839 he and his cousin Napoleon II attempted a ludicrous military coup against the government at Strasbourg, and were punished with one year’s exile from France. They returned in 1841, and over the next two years. They attempted a more serious uprising in 1843, but on this occasion Napoleon II was imprisoned while Louis Napoleon successfully argued his innocence. Nonetheless, he was closely watched for the next few years, and passed most of the 1840s in relative seclusion. He joined in the February uprising of 1849 which swept Louis Philippe from the throne, and became one of the leading members of the provisional government, becoming responsible for justice, a post he retained in the new Constituent Assembly when his cousin Napoleon II was elected President of the Second Republic.

A Myth Fulfilled:

In the infant government of the Second Republic, Louis Napoleon was formally responsible for justice but he involved himself in many other functions of government. He spoke vocally on foreign affairs and the military, as well as the need for justice and liberalism. He was a particularly strident opponent of the Confederation War, both on the grounds that war would only weaken the forces of liberalism in Germany, but also arguing that the French army was not yet ready for war. (It is believed that his experience in the Prussian-trained Dutch military convinced him of this). Events proved him correct, and the government of Napoleon II collapsed. With France in division between socialists, Orleanists, Bourbonists, and republicans, Louis Napoleon emerged as a popular choice for stability. Exploiting the divisions between the factions, he also gained enormous popular appeal through his speeches, and with disillusioned members of the defeated army. Swept into office in 1853, and given dictatorial powers for twelve months to restore stability, he manoeuvred his supporters into positions of power and within a year was proclaimed Emperor.

Emperor of the French:

After 1854, Napoleon III exercised dictatorial rule, with an internal emphasis on material progress and military reform. Railways were constructed (although on an inefficient design), Paris and other cities were rebuilt, and investment banks were established. His foreign ventures were more calculated, at first: he avoided joining the British in support of the Ottoman Empire, not wanting to become involved in foreign conflict until his military reforms had time to take effect.

Napoleon III became involved in war soon enough, with his commitments to Italian nationalism and his continuation of the French bid for influence over Switzerland. The outcome of the Swiss and Italian Wars, while it did not achieve decisive victory, left France with some sense of military pride restored, and with France having some minor additions of territory in Nice and Savoy. But it also made it clear that other ways would have to be found to acquire the prestige which Napoleon III sought...

For the Glory of France:

The colonial visions of France had been checked for a time with the end of the Napoleonic Wars, but they were still popular within France, and had continued even with the Bonapartes out of office. French involvement with Algeria had commenced in 1827, with a blockade, and then occupation of Algiers in 1830 (with a much-condemned looting), and with formal annexation as a colony in 1833. Much mistreatment of the native Muslim population followed for the next two decades. With the restoration of the Bonapartes, Algeria became one of the first focuses of colonial expansion, but its treatment was affected by developments elsewhere...

Napoleon III had authorised the expansion of French colonial influence even before the Swiss and Italian Wars, with Cochin China acquired in 1856 and Cambodia in 1858. These expansions were halted for a time by the wars in Europe, but the collapse of central authority in China and the establishment of the Taiping Dynasty led to the French seizure of Annam and Tonkin in 1866, and the declaration of a protectorate over Laos in 1869. Napoleon III is said to have considered further Pacific acquisitions, but he was distracted by events in Spain (see Versailles, Congress of). With this settlement, France acquired the Balearics, Trinidad, and Andorra [1], but was blocked from further expansion in the Pacific by other powers, principally Britain [2]. The acquisition of Trinidad proved short-lived, with little glory or wealth to be gained in the New World, and Napoleon III eventually decided to dispose of all remaining French possessions in the Americas in 1875, to make up for some of the expense of colonial expeditions elsewhere.

The other main areas of French colonial expansion under Napoleon III were found in the Middle East and Africa. The French interest in the Middle East stemmed from their acquisition of Syria and the Lebanon in 1864 as part of the Second Congress of Vienna. The rulership of this colony proved extremely problematic for the French, with continual anti-imperial revolts. This experience soured Napoleon III’s originally pro-Arab sentiments, and French rule in Syria was established by bolstering the racial and religious minorities of Christians, Druse and Jews into positions of power, and with another branch of the Foreign Legion established in Syria. This also affected French actions in Algeria, with the original restrictions on foreign settlement abandoned in 1868, as Europeans of various nationalities (mostly French and Italian) settled in the region, displacing many of the previous inhabitants, and meant that the French gradually expanded into the Maghreb. Napoleon III also encouraged joint action with Portugal to break Arab rule in Morocco, as the Portuguese and their Brazilian allies moved out of their enclaves [3] to extend control over that territory. This also led to the beginning of the migration of many of the Arab peoples out of the Maghreb and into Morocco and sub-Saharan Africa. There, many of them met the French again, as Napoleon III began the ‘Scramble for Africa’ with expansions out of the coastal regions into the vastness of the Sahel...

Assessment and Legacy:

Napoleon III is a complex figure. At times a vigorous supporter of liberalism, while on other occasions a conservative reactionary. He always pursued the glory of France, but he also allowed some nationalist growth and concern for other peoples. His treatment of non-European peoples was on the whole poor, but no more so than that approved by many other leaders of the same period.

His record on slavery is more ambiguous. He sold land to the United States, something which allowed the planting of slavery there, and which kept the slaves of Trinidad in bondage, but he also ensured that all of those in the French-speaking lands who would have been enslaved were instead granted transportation to France or Liberia. In Africa, his expansion into the Sahel brought him into conflict with some of the local slave-traders, and he ensured that French troops did their best to suppress the slave trade into their areas of expansion. When French troops came into contact with many of the same Arabs who had been displaced from the Maghreb, he allowed them into positions of power, provided they abandoned their role as slave-traders. Indeed, after a few years, these same Arabs now became the protectors of French interests in the Sahel. Napoleon III may well have done more to prevent the slave-trade, if not for the American and Brazilian enclaves in Africa, where the still-illegal trade flourished. He did display an ironic sense of humour at times, such as when he ensured that Ja-Ja of Opobo, a local potentate and major player in the illegal slave trade, was captured by French-backed Arabs and quietly sold to an illegal slave-trader, finishing his life as a slave in Habana.

Napoleon III’s legacy is harder to judge, given how much change was wrought in France after his son Napoleon IV succeeded to the throne. Napoleon IV was a less engaging character than his father, more imperialistic, and less idealistic, but more vigorous in his actions, as was indicated shortly after he took the throne, by repudiating the protection of Rome as a papal state, which produced an inevitable reaction in Italy and the establishment of a new national capital there. Napoleon III’s accomplishments are lesser when compared to his son’s, but he laid the groundwork, and his industrial and military reforms were important. He may not have fitted into the grandeur and expansion of the “Fourth Age” [4], but he provided France with stability and glory for two decades.


[1] Strictly speaking, France did not acquire Andorra; it established a greater Andorra consisting of the entire bishopric of Urgel, which was jointly ruled with that bishop. However, Napoleon III was keen to present this acquisition as a French victory.

[2] The British here are affected in part by their Australian colonies, where the locals are quite determined not to have any French expansion into the South Pacific, and also by sympathy for Spain, which means that the Philippines are kept under Spanish rule for the time being.

[3] Ceuta and Melilla, which are Spanish enclaves in OTL, but which Portugal acquired during the Congress of Versailles in 1872 in TTL.

[4] A nickname given to roughly the last quarter of the nineteenth century, so-called because so many of the leading statesmen and monarchs fitted that name, principally Napoleon IV of France, King Richard IV of the United Kingdom, Holy Roman Emperor Frederick IV, Kaiser Willem IV of the Netherlands, and Tsar Peter IV of the Russias, and also various lesser statesmen during that period such as President John Adams IV of New England.


Decades of Darkness #73: Amidst The Sands Of Time

Population Data for the United States: 1880

Taken From “The United States In Expansion, 1850-1950: A Century of Triumph”

(c) 1952 By Harold Wittgenstein

Columbia Press: Columbia [Knoxville, Tennessee]

State Slave[1] Non.[2] Ind. White Total

Alabama 434,794 1,169 0 565,283 1,001,246

Arkansas 197,992 0 0 379,878 577,870

Chihuahua 22,473 56,888 76,901 136,762 293,024

Coahuila 117,236 28,052 13,856 297,487 456,631

Colorado 2,133 0 4,582 192,558 199,272

Delaware 3,842 558 0 134,403 138,804

E. Cuba 210,203 24,371 0 319,792 554,367

E. Florida 72,631 0 0 154,651 227,282

E. Texas 175,031 1,223 0 566,304 742,557

Georgia 659,233 3,118 0 1,000,211 1,662,562

Honduras 25,168 349,323 0 139,021 513,511

Illinois 36,498 6,872 0 1,075,127 1,118,497

Indiana 30,731 5,785 0 1,029,387 1,065,903

Iowa 18,167 0 0 851,897 870,064

Jackson 61,483 0 0 94,683 156,167

Jefferson 157,633 2,744 0 534,441 694,818

Kansas 99,966 0 0 644,626 744,592

Kentucky 323,705 11,459 0 1,358,681 1,693,844

Louisiana 299,504 0 0 449,160 748,664

Maryland 123,670 8,663 0 785,160 917,493

Mississippi 390,485 0 0 442,513 832,998

Missouri 218,674 0 0 1,053,391 1,272,064

Nebraska 9,361 0 0 616,331 625,692

New Leon 192,138 83,369 150,030 269,744 695,281

Nicaragua 163,510 404,725 0 190,706 758,942

N. California 60,407 9,711 19,005 927,529 1,016,652

N. Carolina 481,261 2,147 0 1,039,490 1,522,899

N. Durango 118,018 6,054 5,824 131,701 261,597

Ohio 4,141 18,310 0 3,249,722 3,272,172

Pennsylvania 4,274 16,478 0 2,806,543 2,827,295

Puerto Rico 264,463 360,470 0 197,111 822,043

Sinaloa 20,989 106,922 48,322 148,759 324,992

Sonora 11,858 32,250 54,933 105,985 205,026

S. Carolina 561,186 0 0 506,501 1,067,687

S. Durango 98,998 129,711 54,738 116,169 399,616

Tamaulipas 257,757 49,884 71,354 290,961 669,957

Tennessee 368,541 15,457 0 1,472,179 1,856,177

Veracruz 48,262 326,560 137,096 184,896 696,815

Virginia 659,126 7,136 0 1,765,252 2,431,514

Washington 195,947 0 0 644,010 839,957

W. Cuba 535,150 226,831 0 510,673 1,272,653

W. Florida 415,389 3,231 0 608,301 1,026,921

W. Texas 65,004 14,728 1,366 112,047 193,144

Westylvania 2,806 4,612 0 1,237,979 1,245,398

Wilkinson 7,796 0 0 489,233 497,029

Yucatan 142,723 145,075 476,829 126,180 890,808

Total 8,370,358 2,463,886 1,114,836 29,953,417 41,902,496

Territory Slave[1] Non.[2] Ind. White Total

Deseret 1,164 184 2,484 120,128 123,959

Idaho 426 4 0 45,016 45,446

Indian 8,275 89 70,680 69,187 148,231

Nevada 756 3,817 6,069 104,643 115,285

New Mexico 12,929 24,007 19,536 148,194 204,667

Oregon 2,854 541 0 209,398 212,793

Potosi 43,517 340,963 141,796 137,345 663,621

S. California 4,820 672 10,758 16,369 32,618

Suriname 52,012 0 2,502 25,877 80,391

Tobasco 5,651 57,875 24,728 36,018 124,272

Wyoming 536 13 0 68,682 69,231

Zacatecas 33,783 270,910 112,112 91,948 508,753

Caribbean Territory

District Slave[1] Non.[2] Ind. White Total

Aruba 2,763 431 1,063 874 5,131

Bonaire 4,192 0 0 749 4,940

Curacao 21,855 0 0 4,184 26,039

Guadeloupe 99,114 0 0 116,371 215,485

Guiana 0 2,716 1,612 31,314 35,642

Martinique 31,457 0 0 28,321 59,778

Saba 2,189 0 0 505 2,694

St. Eustace 1,983 0 0 602 2,585

St. Martin[3] 2,926 0 0 787 3,713

Tobago 9,803 0 0 2,299 12,102

Trinidad 127,105 6,053 0 18,158 151,316

Virgin Islands 53,530 0 0 27,503 81,033

Total USA 8,893,997 3,172,160 1,508,176 31,257,888 44,832,221


Population Data for New England: 1880

Source: New England Bureau of Statistics

State Black White Total

Connecticut 8,202 862,627 870,829

Hudson 14,713 2,428,296 2,443,009

Long Island 22,420 1,680,935 1,703,355

Maine 1,038 800,074 801,112

Massachusetts 6,766 2,086,060 2,092,826

Michigan 42,293 1,952,872 1,995,164

New Brunswick 413 362,598 363,011

New Hampshire 1,835 468,102 469,937

New Jersey 31,187 1,069,699 1,100,887

Niagara 11,099 1,846,318 1,857,417

Nova Scotia 2,045 545,594 547,640

Rhode Island 2,722 274,704 277,426

Vermont 933 509,993 510,926

Total 145,667 14,887,872 15,033,539


Population Data for Canada: 1880

Source: New England Historical Archives, Hartford, Connecticut

Province Population

Alaska 42,481

British Columbia 153,332

Caroline [4] 86,169

Manitoba 132,119

Northwest Terr. 54,501

Ontario 2,274,922

Quebec 1,430,181

Wisconsin 1,865,866

Total 6,039,571


Population Data for British North America: 1880

Source: New England Historical Archives, Hartford, Connecticut

Province Population

Newfoundland 185,986

Prince Edward Island 102,224

Total 288,210


The Presidential Elections of 1880

From “The Atlas of American Political History”

(c) 1946 By Karl Wundt

Lone Pine Publishing Company

Hammersford [OTL Salem, Oregon], Oregon State

United States of America


The 1880 elections saw the clash of cultures between the “rough-hewn frontiersman” and the “true American gentleman”. The two presidential candidates chosen by the major parties were diametric opposites in every significant way [5]. The Democratic candidate, Wade Hampton III of South Carolina, was a scion of old money, and represented the quintessential American gentleman planter. His wealth was legendary; he owned plantations in South Carolina, the Floridas, and New Leon [6]. His wife, Francisca Sánchez Navarro, had a lineage to match his own, representing the uppermost echelons of old Mexico [7]. Opposing him was Thomas Corbin, born in a log cabin in western Kentucky, who had lived the life of a frontiersman throughout the Old West, was rumoured to have killed a bear with his bare hands, before making the first discovery of silver in Nevada and acquiring enough wealth that he returned to his native Kentucky and became one of the state’s leading industrialists. Corbin was a rough but effective speaker, and his complex background seemed well-designed to appeal to the Patriots’ diverse constituency [8]...

Popular Votes Electoral Votes

State Corbin Hampton Corbin Hampton

Alabama 34,030 45,110 0 11

Arkansas 20,210 32,973 0 7

Chihuahua 11,680 7,467 4 0

Coahuila 23,323 18,325 6 0

Colorado 17,792 9,166 4 0

Delaware 12,795 6,021 3 0

E. Cuba 18,356 26,415 0 7

E. Florida 8,544 13,107 0 4

E. Texas 42,813 36,470 9 0

Georgia 46,212 93,818 0 17

Honduras 8,369 11,094 0 6

Illinois 91,816 58,702 14 0

Indiana 80,704 63,410 13 0

Iowa 72,752 46,514 11 0

Jackson 4,507 8,749 0 3

Jefferson 35,914 38,907 0 9

Kansas 50,539 39,709 10 0

Kentucky 97,022 93,193 19 0

Louisiana 30,812 32,070 0 9

Maryland 62,656 47,267 11 0

Mississippi 24,161 37,791 0 9

Missouri 79,636 67,838 15 0

Nebraska 54,360 31,926 9 0

New Leon 15,483 22,281 0 8

Nicaragua 11,748 14,951 0 8

N. California 92,196 37,658 13 0

N. Carolina 66,943 78,585 0 17

N. Durango 8,297 10,141 0 4

Ohio 241,129 213,832 39 0

Pennsylvania 204,319 188,597 34 0

Puerto Rico 11,589 16,006 0 8

Sinaloa 11,032 9,794 4 0

Sonora 8,309 6,529 3 0

S. Carolina 21,288 49,622 0 11

S. Durango 8,782 7,481 4 1

Tamaulipas 16,701 24,033 0 7

Tennessee 98,927 107,178 0 21

Veracruz 11,907 13,978 0 7

Virginia 118,619 128,516 0 26

Washington 38,769 51,392 0 10

W. Cuba 26,453 45,041 0 13

W. Florida 26,400 58,762 1 10

W. Texas 9,098 6,588 3 0

Westylvania 88,325 84,992 16 0

Wilkinson 43,150 25,342 7 0

Yucatan 7,066 10,599 0 8

Total 2,115,537 2,077,942 252 241

The 1868 elections thus delivered a narrow victory to the Patriots, and “Old Tom Silver” entered the New White House. Yet he must have trembled as he did so, for the margin of victory in Ohio and the Sylvanias, three states which had been Patriot heartland territory for over half a century, was extremely limited, and continued a decline which had been seen for the last three elections. Without those three states, the Patriots’ chances of re-election would be almost nil...


From: “Slavery in the New World: How the Industrial Age became the Second Dark Ages”

(c) 1948 by Professor Giuseppe von Ovido

University of Venice

Venice, German Empire

Chapter 12: The Changing Form of New World Slavery (1860-1890) [9]

Throughout most of the history of slavery in the New World, the predominant use of slaves was in agriculture. A variety of cash crops were the foundation of slave-owners’ wealth, principally sugar and tobacco. For the first half of the nineteenth century, the predominant use of slaves was in cotton, a crop so profitable that it limited any other use of slave labour, and saw cotton plantations stretching across the United States from the Carolinas to the Durangos. Yet this cotton expansion produced its own problems, principally an over-production of the crop that led to a dramatic price crash in 1866 and a gradual decline in prices (and therefore profitability) thereafter. A variety of insect pests, particularly the boll weevil, also reduced the viability of cotton plantations in the southern states.

With the reduction in cotton profitability, other uses for slaves were adopted. This included some diversification of slave-produced cash crops, with the existing repertoire of sugar and tobacco being expanded by wheat, hemp, henequen, tea, rubber, bananas, pineapples and other tropical fruit. But the largest growth was in manufacturing and industrial activities.

The United States had made some use of slaves in manufacturing even during the cotton heyday. Slaves had long been used in shipbuilding, construction (particularly rail gangs) and mining. Some plantations had also started to develop their own industrial base for their products, such as garment factories and sugar mills. These roles were to expand immensely during the 1870s onward. The United States had been a major industrial power even before this time, particularly along the north-eastern seaboard and along the Ohio and Mississippi river systems, but its manufacturing base developed much further after 1866. A greater diversity of natural resources were tapped, particularly coal in Kentucky and western Virginia, iron ore in Alabama, and copper in Sonora. This led to an increasing demand for industrial labour, and it was one which the United States were reluctant to meet with their own people. Much of the industrial work was looked down on as ‘slave work’. The Americans could have resorted to immigrant labour, as their northern neighbour had done, but their nation’s attractiveness to immigration was not high, and their racial views also affected their willingness to accept further immigrants. They could rely only on their bonded population, and their supply of Negro slaves did not meet the demand. Illegal shipments of slaves from Africa made up a small part of the difference, but international opposition to the slave trade limited the effectiveness of this option.

The alternate choice, and one which the United States pursued with vigour during the 1870s and afterward, was the adoption of bonded labour from the regions of former Mexico and their Caribbean conquests. Many of the former Mexicans had languished in a status of non-citizenship, variously listed as peons, serfs, debt-slaves or simply unclassified. There were increasing numbers of displaced citizens as land was acquired by the rich haciendados and immigrant anglo planters. This left a class of relatively poor Mexicans, particularly with the introduction of poll-taxes and other financial punishments. Many of the inhabitants became classed as debt-slaves as a result.

The increasing numbers of debt-slaves led to the widespread adoption of a new ‘broker’ labour exchange system within the United States. This had initially begun with chattel slaves, who were often rented out by their owners, particularly those who sold their plantations and adopted urban life. The brokers arose as a class who obtained commissions for renting out of chattel slaves, but they found a more valuable existence as middlemen in arranging for the migration of debt-slaves to the older regions of the United States, where the debt-slaves could find more employment, and have a better chance of earning freedom [10]. The migration of debt-slaves was not a forcible one; the American system granted greater rights to debt-slaves than to others in bonded labour. They could not be involuntarily separated from their families, and could (and often did) seek out another to buy out their debt and thus relocate. This formed the beginning of a ‘reverse migration’ within the United States, where before there had been anglos pushing west and south, now other inhabitants moved north into the older states, fuelling the growth of the industrialised economy...


[1] The figure for slaves was sometimes inaccurate, particularly in the northern-tier states such as Maryland and Delaware, who tended to mark some of the de facto free blacks as slaves, or just discount them from the census altogether. Legally, of course, blacks cannot be classed as free, although many still have de facto freedom in 1880.

[2] i.e. non-citizens, all those who fell into the categories of peon, debt-slave, or just don’t have a categorisation yet.

[3] The district of St. Martin consists of the former Dutch part of the island of St Martin/Sint Maarten; the former French section is part of the district of Guadeloupe.

[4] Strictly speaking, Caroline is still classified as a district rather than a province in 1880. It is named after

[5] Except, of course, that they are both wealthy and slaveowners. The Patriots, as a party, emphasise more of the struggle so that any white man can pursue the “Great American Dream”, i.e. to earn a lot of money and have other people working for you. Their candidates, however, still need to have money. And, oddly enough, while they find many supporters amongst the up-and-coming, when those people attain wealth, as often as not they switch to the Democrats to support the status quo.

[6] The U.S. state of New Leon includes much of the OTL Mexican state of Coahuila, including most of the cotton lands near the Durango border.

[7] Francisca is Hampton’s second wife; he married her shortly after the First Mexican War.

[8] The Patriots are a much more factional party than the Democrats. Broadly speaking, the Patriots appeal to the middle-classes and the nouveax riche. Their supporters range from the “northern Patriots” of Ohio and the Sylvanias, to the small farmers of the Midwest, the miners of the booming Western territories, cattle-ranchers in West Texas and Chihuahua, and most of the frontier areas. They also tend to be more expansionistic and militaristic. They are supported by some industrialists, mostly those who are “new money”, but many of the more established industrialists are also planters, and thus tend to favour the Democrats.

[9] German historians, in particular (and to a degree, Russian historians as well) tend to describe all forms of American indentured labour as forms of slavery.

[10] Not a large one, but a debt-slave who worked very hard had a chance to earn freedom. Most were unable to do so, but a fraction were successful.


Decades of Darkness #74: President Wanted (No Experience Necessary)

From: “Unique Story of a Marvellous Career: The Life of President Phineas T. Barnum”

(c) 1915 Martha Jane Benton

Sandler Publishing Company, Long Island

Among the names of great New Englanders of the nineteenth century, there is scarcely one more familiar to the world than that of the subject of this biography. There are those that stand for higher achievement in literature, science and art, and in the business world. There is none that stands for more notable success in his chosen line, none that recalls more memories of wholesome public life, none that is more invested with the fragrance of kindliness and true humanity. His career was, in a large sense, typical of genuine Yankeeism, of its enterprise and pluck, of its indomitable will and unfailing courage, of its shrewdness, audacity and unerring instinct for success.

Like so many of his famous compatriots, Phineas Taylor Barnum came of good old New England stock. His ancestors were among the builders of the colonies of Massachusetts and Connecticut. His father's father, Ephraim Barnum, was a captain in the First American Revolution, and was distinguished for his valour and for his fervent patriotism. His mother's father, Phineas Taylor, was locally noted as a wag and practical joker. His father, Philo Barnum, was in turn a tailor, a farmer, a storekeeper, and a country tavernkeeper, and was not particularly prosperous in any of these callings.

Philo Barnum and his wife, Irena Taylor, lived at Bethel, Connecticut, and there, on July 5, 1810, their first child was born. He was named Phineas Taylor Barnum, after his maternal grandfather; and the latter, in return for the compliment, bestowed upon his first grandchild at his christening the title-deeds of a ";landed estate,"; five acres in extent, known as Ivy Island, and situated in that part of, Bethel known as the ";Plum Trees.";

In his early years the boy led the life of the average New England farmer's son of that period. He drove the cows to and from the pasture, shelled corn, weeded the garden, and ";did up chores."; As he grew older he rode the horse in ploughing corn, raked hay, wielded the shovel and the hoe, and chopped wood. At six years old he began to go to school--the typical district school. ";The first date,"; he once said, ";I remember inscribing upon my writing-book was 1818."; The ferule, or the birch-rod, was in those days the assistant schoolmaster, and young Barnum made its acquaintance. He was, however, an apt and ready scholar, particularly excelling in mathematics. One night, when he was ten years old, he was called out of bed by his teacher, who had made a wager with a neighbour that Barnum could calculate the number of feet in a load of wood in five minutes. Barnum did it in less than two minutes, to the delight of his teacher and the astonishment of the neighbour.

At an early age he manifested a strong development of the good old Yankee organ of acquisitiveness. Before he was five years old he had begun to hoard pennies and ";fourpences,"; and at six years old he was able to exchange his copper bits for a whole silver dollar, the possession of which made him feel richer than he ever felt afterward in all his life. Nor did he lay the dollar away in a napkin, but used it in business to gain more. He would get ten cents a day for riding a horse before the plow, and he would add it to his capital. On holidays other boys spent all their savings, but not so he. Such days were to him opportunities for gain, not for squandering. At the fair or training of troops, or other festivity, he would peddle candy and cakes, home-made, or sometimes cherry rum, and by the end of the day would be a dollar or two richer than at its beginning. ";By the time I was twelve years old,"; he tells us, ";I was the owner of a sheep and a calf, and should soon, no doubt, have become a small Croesus had not my father kindly permitted me to purchase my own clothing, which somewhat reduced my little store.";...

As President of New England, Barnum determined that he should hold firm to the course which his predecessor had set forth. Namely, he sought friendship with Canada and Great Britain, and cordiality with the United States, that New England’s commerce might grow and that her prosperity continue through the calmness of peace, so that “her fields shall flower, her citizens shall prosper, her rivers shall flow, her sons shall smile, and her daughters shall laugh”. The business of day-to-day government he left to Congress, save only when it involved matters dear to his heart. He would gladly intervene to protect the openness of commerce or the movement of New England’s citizens, vetoing a bill proposed by the railroad Representatives of New York that would limit the use of steam omnibuses and other transport, but for other matters he left to the legislators. To the ceremonies and hospitality of the executive office he turned his attention, and raised a splendour seldom seen before, so that his tenure in our nation’s highest office was oft-named “the greatest show on earth”.


14 July 1881

New York City, Long Island

Republic of New England

President John Adams IV usually preferred obscurity to attention. His Republican predecessor had never travelled anywhere without letting the whole world know he was arriving and how he would arrive, but Adams was willing to travel alone if he needed to. His staff could travel as a group, while he enjoyed the solitude until he arrived. There were over a hundred people on the ferry to Bledloe’s Island, but with his hat pulled down as he looked out over New York Harbour, few people recognised him. Those who did were polite enough to keep their distance; his preferences were well-known in New England by now.

“I couldn’t do this if I were President of the United States,” Adams murmured. His electoral campaign had not given much attention to New England’s giant southern neighbour, but once he had taken office, he found it hard to ignore. The United States rarely expressed any opinions on what was happening north of her border, but he had to take their likely reactions into account whenever he was formulating policy. Sometimes, Adams regretted that. But if he were President of the United States, he could never travel alone as he did now. One of the lessons the Americans had learned – or should have learned – was that the price of their “manifest destiny” was hatred. Two American Presidents had fallen to assassins, and Adams had no doubt a third would follow, in the fullness of time. While he did not wish death on anyone, it would remind the Americans that they were not quite the lords of creation they imagined themselves to be.

As the ferry slowly traversed Upper New York Bay, Adams gained a good view of the foreshore. There were docks and piers everywhere; this was the busiest port in New England, and even on a day such as this, commerce would never stop. He saw far more horstcars than he had expected, chugging along at speeds that a horse could not match over any distance. Adams had not been in New York City since the electoral campaign, and there were many more of the horseless carriages now than then. During the campaign, he had heard a saying in New York that “only politicians and criminals drive horstcars”. In his experience of New York society, it was often hard to tell the difference. The Vanderbilts and Harrimans had never stopped asking him and Congress to impose limitations on the use of those vehicles, especially the omnibuses which travelled between cities, but he had no wish to do so.

With the ferry nearing Bledloe’s Island, Adams finally turned to look at the construction which awaited his dedication. He had avoided looking at the island until now, so that he could witness it with maximum impact. Now he turned, and saw the massive bronze statue on its pedestal, with an upraised torch in one hand and the other hand resting on a sheathed sword. The statue towered over the island – he knew from the papers he had read that it was over 300 feet from the ground to the tip of the torch – as it looked out over New York Harbour. “This is truly a colossus,” Adams murmured.


Taken from: “Wonders of the Modern Age”

(c) 1951 By Renee Sánchez Navarro

Lone Pine Publishing Company

Hammersford [OTL Salem, Oregon], Oregon State

United States of America

Constructed as a gift from the people of Greece to the people of New England, the Colossus of New York was a marvel of engineering in its time, and even today it still impresses with its size and illumination. Uncounted millions of visitors, immigrants and returning Yankees have been greeted by the brazen smile of the statue...

The Colossus was dedicated by President John Adams IV of New England on 14 July 1881, including his oft-quoted phrase, “May the torch of Liberty always be held aloft; may the sword of Vigilance ever be held ready”. The statue also has a plaque at its base which displays the famous but now anachronistic words, “God grant that this statue may stand until the end of time as an emblem of imperishable sympathy and affection between the people of Greece and of New England.”...

The Colossus has spawned a number of imitations around the world, including the Titan of Hamburg but, most famously, the Statue of Liberty in Garden Island, Sydney, Australia...


23 August 1881

Buffalo, Niagara

Republic of New England

Until the day, President John Adams IV could not have conceived of any event which might bring all the four heads of state in North America together in one chamber. Yet it had happened today with the state funeral for former President Abraham Lincoln. Since Lincoln was the only previous Radical President, he deserved to have Adams attend in person. The attendance of King James I was no surprise; the Canadian monarch might be nearing his biblical threescore and ten [1], but he remained hale, and he had been a long-time friend of Lincoln both during and after his time in the executive office. The presence of President Thomas Corbin had been initially surprising, but Adams’ aides had reminded him that Corbin, like Lincoln, had been born in a log cabin in Kentucky.

The most surprising arrival was that of President Manuel Diaz of Mexico. Diaz must have left Mexico City the same day the telegraph announced Lincoln’s death, and even then it would have been a long journey by railroad and steamboat until Diaz arrived. Adams wondered if he should call Diaz “General” when they were formally introduced, but decided that would be too vicious a barb to make at a funeral. His opinion of the Mexican president was not high; he had seized power a few years before in a revolution, and reportedly assassinated several of his political opponents.

After the sermon, and a long round of formal greetings and exchanges of grief with the dignitaries, Adams retired to a corner with King James, and his Secretary of State Daniel Fisk hovering to one side. He had been expecting to arrange a state visit to Canada soon in any event, as there were matters he wished to discuss, along with the value in maintaining good relations with Canada. The discussion turned to the presence of so many heads of state, and then naturally led to relations between both nations and the United States, a topic which was inevitable whenever both nations’ representatives met, Adams supposed.

King James said, “I hope that Corbin’s presence here is a sign that the cordial relations which we have enjoyed with the Americans for the last few years will continue throughout his tenure in office.”

Adams said, “We can hope. I always thought the Bogotá Pact was ill-proclaimed.” By which he meant he thought it had been announced poorly. It was important to protect the surviving Central American republics, but the way it had been announced made it sound overtly hostile to the United States.

However, King James interpreted that remark differently. “Why should we fight a war with the United States if they decide to attack Costa Rica? They have made it quite clear that they do not want to conquer us, and angering them may only change their minds.”

“1833,” Adams replied. He had barely been born when that war broke out, but had never forgotten the lesson it taught him.

King James said, “1833 taught them that it was not worth the difficulty of attacking us. They would only gain people who oppose their social institutions.”

“You are so sure they would conquer us?” Adams asked.

The Canadian monarch shrugged. “The day they drove the last spike into their Northern Pacific Railroad was the day the west was lost. We might hold them at the Great Lakes, with a great deal of luck and with troops from the mother country, but we would lose half of Canada.”

Adams nodded uncomfortably. He had seen the war plans prepared by the Continental Army, and even they assumed a staged withdrawal from southern New Jersey with the hope of holding at the mountains. Those same war plans had been quite vague on what could be done to defend his home state, Michigan. Not to mention the likely fate of the Dominican Protectorate. “I don’t want to do anything which would anger them unnecessarily... but some things are worth fighting for.”

King James glanced over Adams’ shoulder. “You’re about to face a choice about one of those things.”

A moment later, Adams understood the remark, when President Diaz arrived on the scene. Daniel Fisk hastened to perform the introductions. “Mr President, Your Majesty, may I present to you His Excellency Manuel Diaz, President-for-Life of Mexico.”

Diaz was a tall man, with an impressive moustache and a chest covered in medals. He proved to speak heavily accented but intelligible English. “I am please to make your acquaintance, sirs.”

“And I yours, President Diaz,” Adams said. “You honour the late Mr. Lincoln and New England with your presence on this mournful occasion.”

Diaz nodded. “A most tragic loss for your country.” After a further round of mutual commiserations, Diaz continued, “I hope to take advantage of this occasion to discuss informally a matter for... your governments.”

Adams raised an eyebrow. This occasion did not strike him as the time to discuss matters of policy [2].

King James, however, took the suggestion in stride. “Which matter would this be?”

Diaz said, “I would hope that you could approach the members of the Bogotá Pact to request Mexico’s inclusion that alliance.”

Adams coughed briefly, before catching himself. That was a very large request, and one that he would need to consider very carefully, especially given that he had just been discussing the relationship with the United States. He sought a diplomatic way to play for time, before King James salvaged one.

“As King of Canada, I have authority over internal affairs, but foreign policy remains the province of the government of the United Kingdom. You would need to approach a representative of the British government; Lord Salisbury is somewhere in this chapel.”

Diaz sighed. “I have already approached the British minister back home, and he does nothing but delay and delay. I had hoped that your influence might achieve better results, Your Majesty... your brother is the King of England.”

Adams said, “I appreciate your desire to complete this negotiation, Mr President, but I find such transactions during a funeral to be inappropriate. I will authorise my minister in Mexico City to discuss these matters with you in more detail on your return.”

Diaz nodded unhappily. “I ask you to have pity on poor Mexico; so far from God and so near to the United States.” He bowed briefly to both heads of state, then turned and walked away.

King James let out a long, slow whistle. “Where to now?”

“Where indeed?” Adams asked. He had not heard any particular news of renewed American expansionism recently, but Diaz’s request would hardly have come about for no reason. He knew he would spend the rest of the day, and probably many days beyond that, trying to think of an answer.


[1] King James I was born in 1821.

[2] The concept of “working funerals” hasn’t really caught on in New England yet.


Decades of Darkness #75: Nightfall

“He burned bright and glorious, then guttered out, unlike his father, a steady, banked forge.”

From: “The Life and Times of Napoleon IV”. By Prof. N. Leahy, Trinity College, University of Dublin (Liberty Press, Dublin, 1952)


25 August 1881

Beneath the Arc de Triomphe

Paris, French Empire

“Your Majesty, I bid you welcome to France,” Napoleon IV announced. He spoke French, of course. Tsar Peter IV understood the splendid French tongue, as did any man of culture. “It gladdens my heart that you have come here to formalise the long history of friendship between our two great empires.”

That was an exaggeration; there were still living Frenchmen who could remember when Napoleon’s namesake of a great-uncle had burned Moscow. Still, the two nations had fought together during the Confederation War. If Napoleon III had chosen to sit out while the Russians and British fought to the death over Turkey, well, diplomacy often made strange alliances. The departed Bourbons had twice made common cause with the chacals across the Atlantic, and it had twice brought about their downfall.

But for now, Napoleon IV needed allies to restore France to her rightful glory, and there was no better ally than Russia. Tsar Peter IV’s father had fought the mighty British lion to a standstill in Turkey, and Peter himself had much-reformed the Russian Army since.

Peter IV said, “Your Majesty, I am honoured that you welcome me here.” He spoke French fluently, further proof of his culture and learning.

Napoleon IV extended his hand, and Peter IV grasped it firmly. They both paused and turned slightly, waiting for the photographer to record the moment. Napoleon IV had ensured that this meeting would be preserved for posterity, and he had also made sure that the flock of newspapermen had good vantage points amidst the crowd of onlookers.

The two Emperors crossed to where the table waited, with two copies of the treaty of alliance, set out in French and Russian. Napoleon IV signed both copies, then stood to one side while the Tsar bent down to do the same – Peter was a much taller man.

Napoleon IV hoped that this glorious moment should ease some of the agitation within France. That eternal agitator Adolphe Thiers had died four years before, and Jules Favre had followed him to the grave, but Vacherot, Ollivier, and Alderman were continual nuisances. His father had had the wisdom never to grant their calls for a legislative assembly, and Napoleon IV intended to continue that course. As indeed France’s new ally had done. While the previous Tsar had abolished the serfdom Russia had long clung to, Peter IV had resisted all demands for a Russian parliament.

Amidst the cheers of the crowd as the treaty was signed, Napoleon IV announced, “Thus, we have signed a new league of two emperors. This alliance of France and Russia will become the axis on which Europe turns.”


23 August 1881

Buffalo, Niagara

Republic of New England

President Thomas Corbin had faced a surprising amount of opposition in Columbia when he announced his intention to attend the state funeral of New England President Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln had been born an American, after all; one of the last living ties to a time when New England and the United States had been one nation had just been severed. No-one had the authority to prevent Corbin’s departure – except perhaps Congress, but they had never agreed on anything lately – but there had been a chorus of voices questioning the wisdom of his choice. That there was a danger, that he was wasting his time, and that it honoured New England too much. The voices had only been silenced when the telegraph brought word that President Diaz of Mexico was travelling to the funeral too.

Corbin had reached Buffalo long before the Mexican leader. So far, he liked what he saw. The New Englanders were industrious and inventive, and even in this time of mourning the citizens of Buffalo had gotten on with their lives. Corbin had long been an admirer of their universities – the United States, although much larger, had only a handful of institutions of learning which could compare. The New Englanders lacked a proper understanding of matters of race, but he suspected that was because they had only a handful of men of lesser race in their midst. They still refused to make Santo Domingo a state, and while that might be partly because the United States still refused to recognise the protectorate there – a course which Corbin intended to continue – it was also partly because they did not want to grant citizenship to so many ladinos and blacks.

Still, their industriousness was something that America would do well to follow. Corbin wished that his American workers could be equally motivated. He needed to use slaves in his hemp factories in Kentucky. White workers would not remain for long enough to learn the job, and even debt-slaves were reluctant to be transferred there, which reduced their effectiveness.

Corbin slowly drifted back to the present as the pastor finished his sermon for Lincoln. It boiled down to what all such sermons said: Lincoln had been great and famous, and now he was dead. May he have gone to a suitable eternal reward. Corbin hoped that was true. For while Corbin had never lost faith in God, he had little trust in the men who claimed to serve in His name. A few years ago, Corbin had discovered the writings of a Dane named Konrad Dahl, whose “One Thousand Queries” had had little good to say about the hierarchies of Christianity. Corbin remembered one saying in particular: The Scriptures may be the words of God, but when another thinks to tell you what they mean, all you will hear is the words of men.

Corbin felt short of breath for a moment, and his heart thundered against his chest. But the moment passed, and he started to talk with the men who had gathered to honour the departed Lincoln. He exchanged brief conversation with the current Yankee president, and briefer still with King James of Canada – Corbin had no use for monarchs, and one of the greatest faults of the Yankees was the way they still licked the boots of the King of England. He noticed that Diaz kept hovering around, and quietly whispered to one of his aides, a sharp-eared man named Jonathon Albrecht, to trail Diaz at a discreet distance and listen to his conversations. A few minutes later, he noticed Diaz approach the monarch and President Adams. Corbin turned away, confident that Albrecht would relay all the useful parts of the conversation.

Sure enough, when the time came to retire from the chapel, Albrecht reported, “Diaz wanted Adams and the king to press for Mexico’s inclusion in the Bogotá Pact.”

“Did he have any success?” Corbin said.

“Adams has said that his minister in Mexico City will hold talks with Diaz’s government.”

“Did he indeed?” Corbin murmured. “We will have to do something about that.” He would be perfectly happy for Mexico to remain sovereign as a dependency of the United States. It meant that the more discontented former Mexicans could emigrate rather than cause trouble within the USA. But he did not want the British to gain further influence in Central America. Their toehold in British Honduras was bad enough.


2 September 1881

Louisville, Kentucky

United States of America

Brutus Junius Clay [1] had a portrait of his late uncle, Cassius Marcellus Clay, on the wall of his office. It often intrigued and occasionally disgusted visitors; nearly forty years had passed since Cassius Clay led his treasonous abolitionist rebellion inside Kentucky’s capital, but it had not been forgotten. Few of those visitors dared to comment on it aloud, for fear of giving offence. Brutus Clay was the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Northern Pacific Railroad [2], to say nothing of his other holdings, and he could make or break careers - and sometimes people - with a few simple words. For those who did speak, however, he always gave the same answer: “To remind myself that any obstacle can be overcome.”

Cassius’s madness had ensured that no man who bore the same surname could get elected to any political office in Kentucky, and no great office anywhere in the United States. Some of the members of the family had moved to Canada and New England to build careers there, and Clay still maintained ties with them, including his cousin who ran the linking railroad that joined the Northern Pacific to Dearborn, Wisconsin [3]. Clay had remained in Kentucky, and chosen the path of commerce instead. He ruled the Northern Pacific, his family ties gave him the Dearborn link, and he had hopes of creating a new railroad to Oregon. He might lack formal political power, but few men were elected in Kentucky against his wishes. And many others owed him debts; without Clay delivering Kentucky, Nebraska and other northern states, Corbin would never have reached the New White House.

“Now it’s time to collect some of those debts,” Corbin murmured. Aloud, he said to his secretary, “Read that back to me.”


“Send it at once,” Clay said.

“Havoc!” the secretary said, and left.


12 September 1881

New White House

Columbia, F.D.

United States of America

“What is the danger?” Brutus Clay said. “We have railroads all the way to Mexico City, now. The Mexicans will no doubt sabotage part of the lines, but my engineers are ready to rebuild them. We can be inside Mexico City in a month, much less time than it took Generals Taylor and Davis, and then we will rule Mexico [5].”

“The question is not whether we can defeat Mexico,” President Corbin said wearily. He cordially detested Clay, despite needing his money to win Kentucky and for other campaigning. “The question is what the American public will think.”

“The public be damned!” Clay snapped. “This is the United States, not the land of Yankee Radicals like Adams and his ilk. It’s up to men of breeding to know what’s best for America, not some shopkeeper in Philadelphia or a backwoods farmer from Arkansas.”

“It’s hard to declare an unpopular war and keep office,” Corbin said.

“So publish the Mexican request to gain entry into the Bogotá Pact, denounce them as British lackeys, and get popular support,” Clay said. “That should be enough.”

“I suspect not,” Corbin said. Here, he felt on firmer ground. Clay had been born into money, like so many of the other voices calling for war with Mexico. The agricultural families saw it as an insult to the pride of the United States, and had added their voices to the calls of the industrialists, who for years had advocated expanding the supply of labour. But they, and Clay, lacked the same ground-up understanding of the American public will which Corbin had gained. “It’s not enough. Any act of aggression by Mexico will let me ask Congress to declare war the next day. Without that...” He shrugged.

“Why do you hesitate?” Clay demanded. “The American people have always backed someone who adds more stars to the flag.”

If they succeed, Corbin thought. He wanted to be remembered alongside Davis and Cass, not Jackson or worse yet Madison. “The danger is other nations, not Mexico itself. General?”

General Edward Mahan had stayed quiet during the argument. Normally, Corbin would not have wanted anyone to witness such a debate, and with almost any man except Brutus Clay, he would have had them marched from his office for adopting such a tone. But Clay was not a man easily ignored. So Corbin had ensured that General Mahan was here in what he hoped would be support from a career military man.

Mahan said, “While a conquest of Mexico would be longer and more difficult than you suggest, Mr. Clay, we would win in time, assuming no outside intervention. A war on two fronts is most difficult; I would dislike having to fight both Mexico and the Halifax Pact at the same time.

Clay said, “The British are unlikely to intervene. They dislike Diaz’s government anyway, after it defaulted on debts. All their allies here will oppose intervention.”

“Don’t underestimate New England or Colombia,” Mahan said.

Clay stiffened; he obviously wasn’t used to having people openly contradict him, and Mahan had now done it twice in as many minutes. “We need this war. America needs more labour, and cheaper than it can come from buying slaves. Debt-slaves are much better, if we can find enough of them to move north. And the dangers of waiting are worse. If the Mexicans ally with the British, our life will be much harder.”

Mahan rubbed his chin judiciously. “The people of Guatemala are ripe for liberation from Mexico’s rule.”

“Diaz would withdraw from Guatemala if we threatened invasion there,” Corbin said. “I have met the man; you haven’t. He is desperate to avoid war.”

Clay said, “So stage an incident. We will find a reason for war with Mexico if we search for one. Blame them for Indian raids or something.” He paused. “We never recognised Diaz’s government formally when he launched his revolution. Could we invade in support of the old President, Salas or whatever his name was? That worked in Honduras.”

“Salas caught lead poisoning two years ago in Veracruz,” Mahan said. “No-one managed to link the assassins to Diaz, sadly. That would have been a good enough excuse.”

“So, do you want peace or war with Mexico, General?” Corbin asked. “So far, you’ve recommended both.”

Mahan shrugged. “Peace is merely the interlude between wars, Mr President. But it is up to yourself and Congress to determine how long that interlude should be. If and when I am required to carry out a war with Mexico, I shall do so to the best of my ability.”

Clay said, “So, Mr President, what is your choice: peace or war?”

“Peace,” Corbin said. “Unless and until Mexico does something that demands war, I can choose no other course.”

Clay shook his head. “So be it. I am sure you will find support for your position somewhere, Mr President. If you will excuse me...”

Corbin nodded, and Clay left. Mahan half-rose, and Corbin nodded permission for him to leave as well. So, no more campaign backing from the Clay railroad empire, he thought. Where that left him, he would have to find out. He did have some regrets for not going to war, but, Clay’s bull-headedness notwithstanding, Congress would not declare war simply on the President’s say-so.


26 September 1881

New White House

Columbia, F.D.

United States of America

A copy of the Columbia Register rested on Corbin’s desk. He had read the article three times, and the headline several more. Now he stared at it while it barely registered, with a headline proclaiming “DASTARDLY MEXICAN SABOTAGE” and an article describing the series of explosions on the Mexico and Veracruz Railroad – all on the US side of the border. The editorial he had only read once, but it screamed for retribution for this “abhorrent violation of the forbearance the United States showed in granting transit rights to Mexico after the last war”.

“Never underestimate a Clay,” he muttered. He had expected something like this – Brutus Clay would hardly have reached his station in life if he were a man to give up easily – but not so soon, and not so audacious. Corbin would have wagered good money that a version of this story was on display in the front page of every newspaper in every city in the United States which had a telegraph line. An action would have every voice in Congress calling for a response...


From: “The Mahan Papers: The Life of America’s 17th President”

Edited and Introduced by Alexander Williamson

(c) 1948 Liganto Publishing Company, Taylor City

Diary entry for 26 September 1881:

The interlude is over.


[1] Not the Brutus Junius Clay of OTL, but the family had used the name before, so I think it’s reasonable that they would adopt it in ATL for a person who is of distinctly different character.

[2] Which follows a route similar to the OTL Union Pacific, linking Sacramento, North California to Omaha, Nebraska.

[3] OTL Chicago, Illinois, and a very important commerce hub between Canada, New England and the United States.

[4] i.e. Clay’s lobbyists in Columbia.

[5] Clay is obviously not aware of which language the word “guerrilla” comes from.


Decades of Darkness #76: Going Under

“The difference of race is one of the reasons why I fear war may always exist; because race implies difference, difference implies superiority, and superiority leads to predominance.”

- Attributed to Benjamin Disraeli, British Prime Minister


28 September 1881,

Federal House

Hartford, Connecticut

Republic of New England

When he had accepted President Adams’ invitation to become Secretary of State, Daniel Fisk had not anticipated the tribulations he would face. Foreign affairs for New England had not been matters of urgency since Lincoln’s presidency. Most of the world was too far away to threaten New England; he had expected only diplomacy to protect New England’s far-flung commercial interests, and perhaps some discussion over Liberia. The over-riding concern was the United States, and had been for the last two generations, but while Americans were not always pleasant people to deal with, they had been cordial neighbours since Lincoln’s time.

This current crisis, however, had been something he had not anticipated. Mexico had been making vague noises about joining the Bogotá Pact – or even the Halifax Pact – for the last couple of years, but it had never seemed to be anything substantive. Their President’s recent direct appeal had caught Fisk unawares, and there had since been a flurry of contact between Mexico City and Hartford. But all of this discussion had been superseded two days ago when the talking wires announced the damage to the railroads in distant Veracruz, which the Americans were blaming on Mexican saboteurs. The next day had brought the news that the U.S. Congress was discussing a motion for declaration of war on Mexico, although oddly enough the American President had not actually requested one. And the day after that, Fisk had been requested to meet President Adams to explain what their response would be. Which would be decidedly difficult, since Fisk had no idea what it should be.

Adams said, “Do you really believe that the Mexicans were behind the sabotage?”

Fisk said, “Not Diaz himself. But for all we know, the Americans bribed some Mexican officials to cause the sabotage. Everything is for sale in Mexico.”

“Including the entire country, if this plays out badly,” Adams said.

“Undoubtedly, but the question becomes one of proof. The United States will be at war with Mexico soon, barring a miracle I cannot foresee. Once they have started, we will not be able to save Mexico short of declaring war on the United States ourselves.”

There was a long pause before Adams replied. Fisk supposed that Adams found that prospect quite as unpleasant as he did.

Eventually, Adams said, “I would need to consult with the British minister, then. And perhaps the Colombian minister as well – I assume the other Bogotá Pact members will follow their lead?”

“Not at all, sadly. If Colombia said “east”, Venezuela would answer “west”. It was only their common fear of the Americans – and the Brazilians – which persuaded them to sign the alliance in the first place.”

A knock at the door interrupted proceedings. Fisk raised an eyebrow; it would take very important news to delay these discussions. Could it be word that the USA had already declared war?

Adams’ secretary walked in, and, after a nod from the president, said, “We’ve just heard that King Edward VII is dead.”

“Dead?” Adams asked.

The secretary nodded. “He slipped and cracked his skull open, and never regained consciousness.”

“Thank you, Lincoln,” Adams said, and the secretary scurried out again.

“King Edward is dead?” Fisk repeated. “May God have mercy on his soul.”

“May God have mercy on us,” Adams said. “This will cause considerable confusion in the British government, and it could not have happened on a worse time.”

“Begging your pardon, Mr President, but it changes very little. British monarchs have very little power, far less than even the King of Canada. Gladstone leads the British government, and he will continue to pursue exactly the same policy as he did under King Edward. Prince Richard – King Richard IV, I suppose – is hard to judge, but with his youth he is unlikely to have a major influence on policy. King Edward had considerable informal influence and family connections with Europe and British high society, but Richard will need years to regain those. For the immediate crisis, not much has changed.”

“Not much has changed in Britain, yes,” Adams said. “But what about in America? They will expect this to cause confusion, and it will make them even more aggressive against Mexico.”

“Since they would have declared war anyway, I still see little difference,” Fisk said.

“If they do not fear the British, then they will be less likely to listen to warnings if we do decide to intervene,” Adams said. “I think you should visit Columbia to argue our case. That would help to convince the Americans of the dangers of their policy.”

Fisk doubted that, but he could hardly argue with a presidential command.


3 October 1881,

New White House,

Columbia City, Federal District

United States of America

“No, Congress has not yet approved war with Mexico, but it will. I cannot stop war with Mexico even if I wanted to.” President Corbin did not sound gleeful or enthusiastic, as Fisk had expected when meeting the chief jackal about to swallow another country. If anything, he sounded tired of the whole business.

Fisk said, “Is there nothing you can do?” He paused. “Didn’t you find it quite strange that the Mexicans were able to conduct so much sabotage within your borders without anyone detecting them?”

Corbin looked straight ahead, his eyes meeting neither Fisk nor the New England minister here, Henry Astor, who had also attended the meeting. “Mexicans travel back and forth along that railroad every day; it is their main transport route. Even if our border guards had been especially vigilant – and they had no reason to be – they would have been quite fortunate to find the saboteurs beforehand.”

Fisk said, “Regardless of where the saboteurs came from, I would be most surprised if Diaz’s government had authorised these actions. What would Mexico gain from angering the United States?”

Corbin said, “Mexico has been in chaos for all of its existence. If Diaz cannot control the actions of his citizens, and those citizens cause havoc within the United States, then we will impose a government which will control them.”

Fisk said, “New England would be most displeased to see Mexico vanish from the map.”

“I would be most displeased to see further sabotage on American soil,” Corbin replied.

Fisk drew breath to answer, but Astor spoke first. “We understand your position, Mr President. Would you excuse us so we can seek further instructions from Hartford?”

“Of course,” Corbin said, and rose to show them to the door.

Once they were well away from any prying ears, Corbin said, “Did we have to leave so soon?”

Astor said, “Did you ever have staring matches as a child?”

Fisk said, “I don’t follow.”

“Staring match. You know, first one to blink or look away loses. That’s what we have here. Corbin won’t blink, whether he wants war or not.”

“The U.S. President can’t decide whether he should be at war?” Fisk asked incredulously.

“President or not, Corbin is beholden to the planters down here in a way which makes the Federalists look completely independent of the Boston families.” Astor’s lips curled slightly; from what Fisk had heard, he had been left out of his family inheritance – one of the richest in New York City – and he still held a grudge. “They want war, so they will have a war. It would have been declared already if their Congress sat over weekends. Another two days at most, I expect. If President Adams wants to stop them, he’d better mobilise the Continental Army.”

“Is there absolutely nothing else we can do?” Fisk asked.

“We might extract some concessions as the price for our neutrality. Recognition of our protectorates over Dominica and Liberia, perhaps. Other than that... if Britain wanted to intervene, we could capture Cuba and lose Michigan, I suppose. Not to mention half of Canada.”

Put that way, Fisk could only nod in reluctant agreement.


Text of the United States’ declaration of war on Mexico on 4 October 1881

From the Library of Congress, Columbia City

An Act declaring war between the Republic of Mexico and the United States of America and its territories [1].

Be it enacted by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, in recognition of the desecration of American soil conducted by agents of the government of the Republic of Mexico, that war be and the same is hereby declared to exist between the Republic of Mexico, and the United States of America and their territories; and that the President of the United States is hereby authorized to use the whole land and naval force of the United States to carry the same into effect, against the land and naval forces, goods, and effects of the government of the said Republic of Mexico, and the citizens thereof.


4 October 1881,

Columbia City, Federal District

United States of America

“Sir, why am I being ordered to rot in a fort by the Delaware while the armies of the United States march into Mexico City?” Lieutenant General George Hill demanded. “The battles will be there, the glory will be there, I should be there!”

“Because your expertise is needed to defend our northern border should the Yankees be so foolish as to interfere with our Mexican war,” General Edward Mahan answered patiently. He found Hill’s protests amusing rather than threatening, but knew better than to show it.

“I protest against this unjust treatment,” Hill said. “If you refuse to reassign me to a more prestigious theatre, I will take this up with General-in-Chief Beauregard, and with the Secretary of War if I have to.”

“George, sit down,” Mahan said. “That would be pointless, since they would only refer you back to me. This deployment is in recognition of your leadership qualities, not an exile. We don’t know whether the Yankees and the British will try to